The Seattle Storm are valued at $151 million, a record for a U.S. women’s sports team, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.
The Storm are selling stakes in the team to 15 investors to help finance a $64 million practice facility and business office, which is set to break ground this month, team owners Ginny Gilder and Lisa Brummel said.
As part of the sale of those minority stakes, the team has been valued at the record price, which is about 15 times more than previous sales prices for WNBA teams, per the Wall Street Journal.
The Seattle Storm is now valued at $151 million, a U.S. women's pro sports team record, after selling minority stakes in the team. pic.twitter.com/8buY9RibcP— Just Women’s Sports (@justwsports) February 8, 2023
The Seattle Storm is now valued at $151 million, a U.S. women's pro sports team record, after selling minority stakes in the team. pic.twitter.com/8buY9RibcP
The eye-popping number comes after a year of skyrocketing valuations in the NWSL.
Franchise valuations in the soccer league soared in 2022, as the Washington Spirit sold for $35 million last February, while Gotham FC was valued at $40 million in August. The Portland Thorns have been valued at $60 million, ESPN reported in December. And Angel City FC is valued at more than $100 million, per a Sportico report.
The WNBA has not had such valuations. Indeed, in 2021, Mark Davis bought the Las Vegas Aces for little more than $2 million, per reports.
The Storm are one of the most successful franchises in WNBA history, with four WNBA titles, most recently in 2020. They also have had several franchise players — including Sue Bird, who retired in 2022 after 19 years in Seattle.
Still, Gilder wants the Storm’s record valuation to become a launching pad for other teams.
“Investors don’t go off of anecdotes. They go off of [comparables],” she told the Wall Street Journal. “So hopefully, we’ve just set the floor. We’ve set a real-live floor. Not just the WNBA, but women’s soccer, women’s hockey, where women’s sports is going.”