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Northern California NWSL team rights coveted, but Sacramento still holds cards

An update, of sorts.

SOCCER: OCT 17 NWSL - Utah Royals FC at OL Reign Photo by Jeff Halstead/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A huge report dropped Friday that relate to pro soccer in Sacramento, including the status of the reported NWSL expansion team.

Setting aside a related report about the MLS expansion situation, which we’ll recount in a separate post, a report noted that with no official announcement of an NWSL expansion team made yet, there are other markets that are looking at Sacramento’s provisional expansion rights, according to The Athletic.

Separate mooted ownership groups in Oakland and the San Jose area are interested in buying the expansion rights from Sacramento above the expansion fee, according to the report. However, the report said, confirmed by a source to Indomitable City Soccer, that Sacramento are not interested in selling those rights off.

Sacramento was first connected publicly to an NWSL expansion bid in the fall of 2019, with local club Sacramento Storm said to be on the cusp of being awarded an expansion team before there was complete radio silence. In 2020, Sacramento Republic were connected to a revived or evolved expansion bid, with Sac Republic president Ben Gumpert publicly confirming the interest this past fall.

However, with a prevailing belief in some circles that a Sacramento bid was thought to be imminent, it hasn’t happened yet. And so could it all fall apart?

Obviously time will tell, but the wording in the report from The Athletic is key: “Both of the groups — one operating out of the South Bay, one in Oakland — are also willing to buy these NWSL expansion rights at a higher price than what Sacramento agreed to in August with the league, the sources said.”

That indicates there is a concrete agreement of some kind in place as of August, and while there has to be something holding up the announcement, the report and the way a source indicated the situation to Indomitable City Soccer the rights appear to be secure enough that they seem to “belong” to Sacramento at this point.

And that’s where things stand at the moment. Obviously nothing’s official until it’s announced by the league, but it still sounds like NWSL to Sacramento is on track. When we’ll see a public update remains to be seen, but we’ll keep an eye on things and provide updates when we hear them.

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