Kevin Durant joins NWSL’s Gotham FC as owner


NJ/NY Gotham FC added another marquee name to their ownership group.

The club announced that Thirty Five Ventures (35V), led by founders Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets and Rich Kleiman, are now minority investors. They join two-time world champion and former Gotham FC star Carli Lloyd, whose ownership stake was announced last week. Kristen Bernert and Karen Bryant of consultancy KB2 Sport joined last month.

“As a New York-based company, the opportunity to partner with a forward-thinking team like Gotham FC was a no-brainer for us,” Kleiman said in a team statement. “The NWSL has grown so much over the past few years and to have the opportunity to be a part of that growth and work directly with the Gotham FC leadership team and players is really exciting.”

The investment includes “additional partnership elements such as content creation, social media support, player relations and public relations,” according to the team’s publication. Durant, a two-time NBA champion who plays for the nearby Brooklyn Nets, and Kleiman founded The Boardroom media network to cover esports business news, hot topics and “key players in the industry.”

The partnership is an extension of two ventures the duo have already undertaken in recent years. 35V has an interest in the Philadelphia Union of MLS, which they finalized in June 2020. The company also invested in Just Women’s Sports a year ago as part of its seed funding announcement in May 2021. And Durant has served on the Advisory Board of Athletes Unlimited since its inception in 2020.

Durant’s investment a ‘huge statement’

Rich Kleiman and Kevin Durant play for Gotham FC, Philadelphia Union, Just Women’s Sports and Athletes Unlimited. (Taylor Hill/Getty Images)

It’s another big step for Gotham FC and the NWSL as a whole as celebrities and sports superstars continue to invest in the league’s clubs. They contribute their money, time and resources to further develop the game. Angel City FC has a long list of former USWNTers, actresses, athletes and celebrities and opened its inaugural season in front of 22,000 fans in Los Angeles last week.

“This is another huge step forward for our franchise,” Ed Nalbandian, executive owner of Gotham FC, said in a team statement. “Kevin and Rich are two of the most influential people in sport and their work in business and entertainment and their significant investment in Gotham FC demonstrates the potential of our club. They will be a tremendous resource to the club in many areas and we look forward to welcoming them to the Gotham FC family.”

Club chair Tammy Murphy called it a “huge statement for the positive development of our club.” Gotham FC underwent a rebrand and name change in 2020 and now calls Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ its home stadium. The club has existed since 2006, at that time still under the name Jersey Sky Blue and a founding member of the now defunct Women’s Professional Soccer.

Gotham FC won their 2022 season opener 3-0 against Orlando Pride on Sunday. They return to the field on Saturday (10 p.m. ET on Twitch) to play expansion club San Diego Wave. The list includes USWNTers Ashlyn Harris, Ali Krieger, Kristie Mewis, Allie Long and Margaret Purce.

The first home game of the season is April 14.

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