Per team rlease
– Reign FC announced that it has entered into exclusive negotiations to sell the club to OL Groupe, the parent company of Olympique Lyonnais.
Reign FC and OL Groupe expect the transaction to close before January 31, 2020.
Olympique Lyonnais (also referred to as OL, or Lyon) is a French football club that plays in Division 1 Féminine (women) and Ligue 1 (men). Olympique Lyonnais Féminin is the most successful women’s soccer team in the world, with thirteen consecutive domestic league titles and six UEFA Women’s Champions League titles, including the last four in a row.
“Our ambition has always been to operate the best women’s football club in the world,” said Reign FC majority owner Bill Predmore. “This is a distinction long held by OL, making them the perfect organization to help us achieve our long-term objectives for the club.”
Current Reign FC majority owners Teresa Predmore and Bill Predmore will retain a minority stake in the club after the sale to OL Groupe has been completed, and Bill Predmore will serve as the CEO of Reign FC.
Since its founding in 2012, Reign FC has delivered strong performances on the pitch, winning two NWSL Shields (2014 and 2015), and making four playoff appearances (2014, 2015, 2018 and 2019), while featuring the NWSL MVP and Golden Boot Winner (Kim Little, 2014), NWSL Rookie of the Year (Bethany Balcer, 2019), NWSL Defender of the Year (Lauren Barnes, 2016), and NWSL Coach of the Year (Laura Harvey, 2014 and 2015, and Vlatko Andonovski, 2019). The 2019 season also ended with the club’s best-ever financial performance, with record revenues from ticket sales, merchandise, and sponsorship. The club also set several attendance records during the season, including a crowd of 7,479 for its game against the Chicago Red Stars, the all-time best match attendance in the club’s seven seasons.
“Teresa and I are proud of what the organization has accomplished over the past seven years and believe these efforts have created a strong foundation for the club’s future success. That said, we know that there remains much work to do to realize our dreams and aspirations for the club,” said Predmore. “We are deeply appreciative of the fans, supporters, and our partners in the business community who supported the club over the past seven years and helped make the club a success. In particular, the front office and technical staff who have served the organization deserve to be recognized for their tireless efforts on the club’s behalf. Our head coaches – Laura Harvey and Vlatko Andonovski – helped shape the unique culture of the club and have engrained in the organization a devotion to excellence and success. And most of all, we thank the players for their dedication, commitment, and continued sacrifice to play the game they love.”
The NWSL – widely regarded as the most competitive women’s league in the world – will begin its unprecedented eighth season in March of 2020. It will do so under new leadership, as it is expected that the NWSL will introduce a new commissioner during the first half of 2020. The NWSL will also see expansion from its current nine-team table, with Proof Louisville FC already committed to join for the 2021 season. The NWSL recently implemented new compensation rules for the 2020 season, which will see clubs making substantial new investments in player compensation in an effort to continue growing the quality and competitiveness of the league.
“Growing the club, the league, and the sport demands increased investment in our facilities, our staff, our players, and the league,” said Predmore. “OL has the capacity to make these needed investments, and the knowledge and experience to make those investments in the manner most likely to yield results. We believe the combination of OL’s experience and expertise with our knowledge of the market and league will allow future investments to deliver the optimal impact to the club and to the NWSL.”
Reign Academy, which is owned and operated by Reign FC, will also become a part of the OL family. Reign Academy, which doubled in size for the 2019/2020 season, will continue to expand its reach in the region by enhancing programs that are exclusively focused on serving female players at the elite level through its teams in the U.S. Soccer Girls’ Development Academy, and for female players of all ages and aptitudes through its Reserves and Pre-Academy programs. Teresa Predmore will continue to serve as President of Reign Academy after the transaction with OL Groupe is complete.
“We believe Reign FC’s lasting legacy in our region can be Reign Academy,” said majority owner and Reign Academy president Teresa Predmore. “OL has a long and successful history of developing female players in its academy programs, which will serve as a guide for our future growth. OL shares our belief that female players deserve and benefit from an environment and approach that serves the unique needs of female players. In becoming part of the OL family we can now deliver players a truly special set of opportunities and experiences locally, nationally, and globally.”
The Hanauer Family and Tacoma Soccer Ventures, who were announced as investors in Reign FC in conjunction with the team’s move to Tacoma in January 2019, will not have an ownership position in the club after the sale to OL Groupe has been completed.
“We are grateful for the support – financial and otherwise – from Adrian and Lenore Hanauer and the Sounders organization, which has always been focused on helping our club secure its position in our region’s thriving soccer community. They are incredible partners who helped make this day possible,” said Bill Predmore. “We are excited to continue our collaboration with Adrian and the Sounders and expect there will be many more opportunities in the future to work together to grow the sport in the Pacific Northwest.”
Reign FC will continue to play its home matches at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma, Washington, and the club will continue its collaboration with the Sounders and Rainiers, supporting their efforts to build a new soccer-specific stadium in Tacoma.
“The new stadium project represents a unique opportunity for Tacoma and for our entire region, as the project may be the first soccer-specific stadium designed from the start to incorporate the feedback and requirements of a professional women’s soccer team,” said Predmore. “We’ll continue to do whatever we can to support the efforts of Mayor Woodards, the Sounders, Rainiers, the City of Tacoma, and Metro Parks Tacoma to help make the stadium project a reality as soon as possible.”
Reign FC original Jess Fishlock has a unique perspective on Reign FC’s anticipated acquisition by OL, having played for Reign FC since its inaugural match in 2013, while winning a UEFA Women’s Champions League medal with OL during her loan to the club in 2019.
“When Bill shared the news I was stunned, but my mind was immediately racing and dreaming about all the possibilities of what the two clubs could accomplish together,” said Reign FC midfielder Jess Fishlock. “Lyon and Reign are both amazing organizations and I am so proud to have played for both clubs. Bringing the clubs together is for me the perfect combination – I literally can’t think of a better outcome for two clubs who are so dedicated to the growth of the women’s game. I am incredibly excited about what the future holds for both clubs.”
ABOUT REIGN FC
Reign FC is a founding member of the nine-team National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), the most competitive women’s professional soccer league in the world. The club was founded in 2012 and today features some of the most acclaimed female footballers in the world, including Welsh midfielder Jess Fishlock and U.S. National Team forward Megan Rapinoe, who was recently named Best FIFA Women’s Player for 2019. The club plays its home matches at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma, Washington. For more information please visit reignfc.com.