Brandi Chastain and the $125 Million Bet on Women's Soccer | The Deal

Brandi Chastain and the $125 Million Bet on Women's Soccer | The Deal

Brandi Chastain's Career and Impact on Women's Soccer

  • Brandi Chastain, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and two-time World Cup winner, is now a co-owner of the NWSL's newest team, Bay FC.
  • Chastain discusses the challenges women faced in the sports industry in the early days of her career, including a lack of support from the general public and the business sector.
  • She highlights the significance of the 1999 Women's World Cup and her iconic penalty kick, which brought visibility to women's soccer and created opportunities for women in sports.
  • Chastain emphasizes the importance of using one's tools in different ways and stepping out of one's comfort zone, as demonstrated by her own experience of taking a penalty kick with her left foot in the World Cup final.
  • She stresses the value of trust between a coach and a player and how a coach's belief in a player's abilities can boost their confidence.

Challenges Faced by Women's Sports

  • The 1999 Women's World Cup was a turning point for women's soccer, but the expected financial success did not immediately follow.
  • The third iteration of women's soccer, the NWSL, faced challenges due to a lack of support from the general public and the business sector.
  • Women's sports have not received the same level of financial investment as men's sports, despite women being the primary spenders.
  • The media companies value and pay less for women's sports compared to men's sports.
  • There is a need to rewire the brain and change the mindset to see women's sports as complementary and beneficial to the overall growth of sports.

Recent Developments and Positive Trajectory of Women's Sports

  • Recent developments, such as Caitlin Clark's success in collegiate sports and the back-to-back World Cup wins by the US women's team, have attracted more attention and investment in women's sports.
  • Transparency in viewership numbers and increased participation of young girls in sports have also contributed to the positive trajectory of women's sports.

Safety and Investment in Women's Sports Leagues

  • Safety of female athletes is a top priority and should be at the core of discussions around women's sports.
  • The scandal in the NWSL led to conversations about responsibility and how to improve the situation for female athletes.
  • The lack of sustained investment in women's sports leagues has been a challenge, and it is important to understand why previous leagues failed.

Growth of the NWSL and Women's Soccer in the US

  • Angel City was founded by former women's soccer players who saw the historical significance of women's soccer in Los Angeles and wanted to create a team.
  • Private equity investment was not traditionally invited in women's sports leagues, but Angel City changed that and became game-changers in the industry.
  • Sixth Street's investment in the NWSL is significant because it's the first time an institutional investor has been the majority owner in US sports history.
  • The league is experiencing growth with larger media buys, more teams, and the construction of the first women's sport-specific stadium in Kansas City.
  • The owners are confident in the league's future success due to these positive developments and the increasing popularity of women's soccer globally.
  • The World Cup, despite being disappointing for US fans, has highlighted the need to maintain and improve the level of play in the NWSL to stay competitive with other countries.
  • The growth of women's soccer in the US is attributed to Title IX, which allowed federally funded money to be spread across education and sports, enabling more women to participate in athletics.
  • The United States has made significant progress in women's soccer by embracing diversity and combining the best practices from other countries.
  • The success of women's soccer in the US is attributed to the collective effort of diverse individuals who brought their unique perspectives and experiences to the sport.

Brandi Chastain's Advice and Personal Reflections

  • Brandi Chastain emphasizes the importance of creating a culture where every individual feels valued, respected, and has the opportunity to contribute and lead.
  • Chastain highlights the need to learn from other owners and is impressed by the improvements in facilities and amenities for women's soccer players.
  • Players should appreciate the opportunities and resources available to them and show gratitude to the people who contribute to their success.
  • Connecting with fans and making them feel a sense of ownership and belonging is essential for the long-term success of women's soccer.
  • Brandi Chastain emphasizes the importance of being oneself and investing time in self-improvement.
  • She stresses the significance of humility and acknowledges that setbacks and failures are a part of the journey.
  • Chastain encourages people to be kind and understanding, recognizing that no one is perfect.
  • She shares her mother's advice to "find your yes" and not be discouraged by rejections.
  • Chastain invites the interviewer to attend one of their games and expresses gratitude for the opportunity to be in Portland.

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