The Washington Spirit ownership saga continues, with Steven Goff of the Washington Post reporting that Steve Baldwin is still pursuing a sale to Todd Boehly’s ownership group rather than fellow co-owner Y. Michele Kang.
Steve Baldwin and NWSL continue pressing forward to sell controlling stake in Washington Spirit to billionaire Todd Boehly's group, I'm told by several sources. League board of governors seems to want to move past the Baldwin-Kang saga and start fresh. Cue the attorneys.— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) January 7, 2022
Steve Baldwin and NWSL continue pressing forward to sell controlling stake in Washington Spirit to billionaire Todd Boehly's group, I'm told by several sources. League board of governors seems to want to move past the Baldwin-Kang saga and start fresh. Cue the attorneys.
The Spirit majority owner previously stated he intended to sell the team before 2022, a timetable that has since expired.
An ownership group spearheaded by Boehly has reportedly been in exclusive talks with Baldwin for a controlling interest of the team since December, offering $25 million for the club. Spirit co-owner Kang, who investors and players have urged Baldwin to sell to, submitted a proposal for $35 million.
In a letter obtained by The Washington Post, 17 of the Spirit’s investors wrote to Baldwin, imploring him to accept Kang’s offer. Should Baldwin sell to Boehly’s group, the investors said they “reserve all of their rights and remedies under the governing documentation and applicable state and federal law. Please consider this a collective notice and reservation of rights.”
Washington players have been advocating for Kang to take control of the team since October, writing in an open letter that “the person we trust is Michele,” adding, “She continuously puts players’ needs and interests first. She listens. She believes that this can be a profitable business and you have always said you intended to hand the team over to female ownership. That moment is now.”
Baldwin and Kang have jockeyed for control of the team all season, with Baldwin increasingly adamant that he will not sell Kang majority ownership, despite at different points throughout the season suggesting he might.
Washington endured a series of off-field issues during the 2021 season, including the firing of former coach Riche Burke over abuse allegations, a COVID-19 protocol breach and ongoing front office drama.
Despite the distractions off the field, on the pitch, the Spirit succeeded, with Ashley Hatch awarded the league’s Golden Boot honors, Trinity Rodman earning Rookie of the Year and the team clinching the NWSL Championship.