Bob Iger, chief executive of global media behemoth Disney, and his wife Willow Bay, are reportedly close to purchasing the Angel City FC franchise of US women’s soccer’s NWSL.

The Disney chief is reportedly set to spend as much as $250 million to become the team’s majority shareholder, taking over from its current four primary owners – entrepreneurs Alexis Ohanian, Kara Nortman, Julie Uhrman, and actress Natalie Portman.

In recent months, the quartet had reportedly come to an impasse over club spending that prompted them to jointly put the team up for sale, appointing the Moelis & Co. investment firm in March to facilitate a sale.

An initial value of $180 million for the sale was reported, but the new total of $250 million seems to be close, with Iger likely to assume control of the board of directors, something that current majority shareholder Ohanian has not done.

Despite only being three years old, Angel City (based in Los Angeles, California) is already considered the most valuable women’s soccer franchise in the country due to the celebrity status of its owners driving public interest, the value of the Los Angeles sports market, existing investment into the team, and a variety of other factors.  

Alongside its four primary owners, a star-studded group of celebrities and sports personalities are invested in the club including tennis greats Serena Williams, Billie Jean King, ice hockey player P.K. Subban, women’s basketball star Candace Parker, and several retired US women’s soccer players including Mia Hamm and Julie Foudy.

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Disney, of which Iger has served as chief executive since 2022 (having previously performed the same role between 2005 and 2020), is the owner of national sports network ESPN, which is one of the NWSL’s four broadcasters.

ESPN is currently committed to airing 20 matches per season through 2027 across ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN Deportes (Spanish).

Whether or not Iger’s purchase means that more Angel City games will make their way to ESPN, as opposed to any of the league’s four other broadcasters, remains to be seen.

All NWSL matches on ESPN platforms and on ABC will stream live on ESPN+ in English and Spanish. The package also includes English, Spanish, and Portuguese language rights in Latin America.