San Diego Wave, of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) in the US, are being sold to the Levine Leichtman investment firm for a record figure.

The Californian club, members of the league since the start of the 2022 campaign, are being sold by their current owner, US businessman Ron Burkle (who also part-owns a side in men's ice hockey's NHL), for a total price of $120 million ($113 million of cash). This represents a record sale price for an NWSL club.

The previous record NWSL team purchase came earlier this year when the Portland Thorns were sold to the Bhathal family at a total value of $63 million.

The new ownership group will comprise Lauren Leichtman and Arthur Levine, who are joint managers of the Levine Leichtman Capital Partners investment firm.

Burkle will remain as principal owner of the Wave through the 2024 NWSL campaign (beginning this weekend) while the deal will reportedly take place over two transactions – with an initial 35% set to be sold off before the remaining 65% gets sold after the end of the upcoming campaign. Burkle originally bought the team for $2 million.

Burkle told Sportico in a statement: “We are proud of the unprecedented success we have had as an expansion team and I am confident that [the Levine Leichtman] family's investment will contribute to the growth of our team and the San Diego community.”

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Jessica Berman, commissioner of the NWSL, has also commented on the sale, adding: “We're thrilled to welcome the Levine Leichtman family to the ownership group of the San Diego Wave. As longtime supporters of the women's game, Arthur and Lauren know well the impact that our league can have in our society, and as savvy investors, understand the opportunities in front of us to continue to grow our league and club businesses."

The Wave’s season-opening fixture comes today, as they take on Gotham FC in the NWSL Challenge Cup.

The team plays its home games in San Diego’s Snapdragon Stadium, and last season finished top of the 12-team table during the regular season. However, they lost to OL Reign during the post-season playoffs.

Click here to read an in-depth interview with Brady Stewart, chief executive of Bay FC, one of the NWSL’s two 2024 entrants.