Monday, July 4, 2022

Nets’ Kevin Durant, business partner Rich Kleiman become minority owners of NWSL’s Gotham FC

Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant is taking another kick at soccer ownership after investing in the MLS’ Philadelphia Union in 2020. The 12-time NBA All-Star and his longtime business partner Rich Kleiman became minority investors in NJ/NY Gotham FC, the NWSL team announced Wednesday. 

With its investment, Thirty Five Ventures — the company Durant and Kleiman co-founded — will help Gotham FC with content creation, social media support, player relations and community outreach, per the team. This is Thirty Five Venture’s third major entry into women’s sports, as Durant and Kleiman invested in the media network Just Women’s Sports last year and serve as board members for the professional sports league Athletes Unlimited.

“As a New York-based company, the opportunity for us to partner with a forward-thinking team like Gotham FC was a no brainer,” Kleiman said in a statement. “There’s been so much growth in the NWSL in recent years, and the chance to be a part of that growth and work directly with the Gotham FC executive team and players is really exciting.”

Kleiman and Durant aren’t the only ones excited about investing in Gotham FC. Former Madison Square Garden executive Kristin Bernert and former Seattle Storm CEO Karen Bryant became minority owners of the team in March. A month later, former Team USA soccer star Carli Lloyd, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, joined the ownership group. 

Gotham FC’s first regular-season game under its new ownership will take place Sunday against the Orlando Pride. The game is set for 7 p.m. ET on Paramount+.

With Durant and Kleiman on board, Gotham FC club chair Tammy Murphy is anticipating a season to remember. 

“Bringing in Kevin, Rich, and 35V as investors is a huge statement about the positive trajectory of our club,” Gotham FC club chair Tammy Murphy said in a statement. “The level of enthusiasm they’ve displayed has been above and beyond anything we could have anticipated. We have tremendous aspirations this year both on and off the field and, together with 35V’s support and resources, we’re going to make sure New Jersey and New York hear all about it!”

Durant, a two-time NBA champion, likely wouldn’t mind the attention going toward Gotham FC as opposed to the sweep his Nets took to the Boston Celtics in the first round of the 2022 NBA playoffs. 

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