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Boston bags NWSL expansion team as group led by Jennifer Epstein pays US$53m fee

White Stadium refurb will see consortium invest in ‘excess of US$100m’ for team to join league in 2026.

19 September 2023 Ed Dixon

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The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) has awarded its latest expansion franchise spot to the consortium bidding to launch a team in Boston.


  • Local female-led ownership group set to spend ‘in excess of US$100 million’ on setting up the team
  • Refurbishing White Stadium in Franklin Park, setting up a new training facility and operational costs all part of that budget
  • Consortium pays US$53 million expansion fee to join US women’s soccer top flight
  • Boston Unity Soccer Partners ownership group led by Jennifer Epstein, the daughter of Boston Celtics co-owner Robert Epstein
  • Managing partners include Anna Palmer, Stephanie Connaughton, and Ami Kuan Danoff
  • Minority investors coming from Boston Red Sox and Celtics, plus ‘significant Boston business sectors’
  • Team will be the first investment of the Monarch Collective, an investment fund dedicated to women’s sports


Boston was heavy linked with landing an NWSL franchise spot at the start of the year and its reported US$53 expansion fee dwarfs previous sums paid to enter the league. As recently as 2020, when groups from Los Angeles and San Diego struck deals to join the NWSL, franchise fees were US$2 million to US$5 million.

This will not be Boston’s first professional women’s soccer team. Having played in the Women’s United Soccer Association (WUSA) from 2001 to 2003, the Boston Breakers later competed in the NWSL before dissolving in 2018.

Boston becomes the latest club to join the NWSL, which in April confirmed the entry of a team based in the Bay Area, California for the 2024 season. The Utah Royals will also return for 2024.


“The landscape has really changed dramatically in the last five years,” said Jennifer Epstein.

“There’s a lot of attention on women’s sports right now, a global rise in fandom in not just women’s sports but in particular around women’s soccer. It’s a great moment in time. There’s a lot of momentum in the league.

Coming next:

Boston are set begin play in 2026, with NWSL commissioner Jessica Berman revealing earlier this month that the league plans to add another team in time for the same season.

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