Atlanta United FC owner Arthur Blank might eventually add an NWSL club to his organization, with officials from Arthur M. Blank Sports and Entertainment confirming that the idea is being explored.
United has been a success story since launching in 2017, setting several MLS attendance records along the way. Blank, who also owns the NFL’s Falcons, could expand his investment in professional soccer down the road by launching an Atlanta-based NWSL team.
Reports have indicated the possibility of Blank launching a team in the league, and a spokesman from AMBSE confirms that the organization is considering the idea and has had preliminary conversations with NWSL officials. However, no final decisions have been made at this time and it remains to be seen if/when an Atlanta NWSL team would begin play. AMBSE is in the midst of an evaluation process, and has not set a timeline for when that due diligence will conclude. More from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated reported on Sunday that Atlanta United could bring an NWSL franchise to the city as early as 2021, but that it was waiting on information about U.S. Soccer’s role with the league. NWSL held its championship game on Sunday. There were reports earlier this season about Atlanta United’s possible interest in an NWSL franchise.
“We’ve had very preliminary discussions with the National Women’s Soccer League about a possible franchise in Atlanta,” [AMBSE chief communications officer Brett] Jewkes wrote in an email on Monday. “We are evaluating a wide-range of factors to review and consider with no definitive timetable to complete that process. The growing success and appeal of women’s soccer in America, both at the professional and amateur levels, is exciting and certainly worthy of our careful exploration.”
In 2018, Blank, who owns Atlanta United in MLS and the Falcons in the NFL, said when asked about the possibility of starting a women’s professional team, “I would like to think aspirationally that it might be something at the right time to consider.”
Consideration comes at a point where the NWSL continues to try to build off momentum from this summer’s World Cup, as the league saw a surge in interest–including several attendance milestones--after the U.S. women’s national team’s victory in the tournament. The NWSL fielded nine teams in 2019 and has at least one expansion club lined up for future seasons, as plans were announced last week for a Louisville franchise that will launch in 2021.
Image courtesy Mercedes-Benz Stadium.