Sue Bird announced a new retirement venture, as she told Forbes she’s buying a minority stake in NJ/NY Gotham FC of the National Women’s Soccer League. Bird, who was born and raised in Syosset, N.Y., is set to retire after her current 19th season with the Seattle Storm.
Bird told Forbes that Gotham FC “met her business requirements and supported women’s empowerment in sports.” The investment includes the stipulation that Bird act as an “adviser” as Gotham FC looks to grow its brand.
“I believe in women’s sports. Period,” Bird said after Thursday’s 88-83 loss to the Connecticut Sun. “I believe in women’s soccer, period. I think there is a tremendous amount of growth to be had in the investment aspect of women’s sports.
“At the same time, I’ve been saying that for a really long time…for all (of) women’s sports. Now it’s time to put my money where my mouth is.”
Bird also indicated she had the blessing of her fiancée, Megan Rapinoe, even though Gotham FC is an opponent of OL Reign. Rapinoe and the Reign are scheduled to face Gotham FC on Aug. 14 at Lumen Field.
Retired New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning is also joining the ownership group, according to Sportico.
The minority stakeholders join Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant’s Thirty Five Ventures and former USWNT star Carli Lloyd, who ended her professional playing career with Gotham FC. Giants executive Pete Guelli has also reportedly joined as an investor, along with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and his wife, Tammy.
Financial terms were not provided. The NWSL is in its 10th season.
“I’ve always loved soccer and I’m from the state of New York,” Bird said. “I feel like it’s my hometown team and I’m really excited to be part of it.”
In late 2018, Bird announced she would join the Denver Nuggets’ front office staff as a Basketball Operations Associate for the rest of that NBA season. Forbes reported Bird has stakes in firms including San Francisco fitness equipment maker Tonal. She also co-owns Togethxr, a media production company that highlights women in sports.
Along with longtime friend and occasional teammate Diana Taurasi, Bird drew acclaim for her commentary during ESPN’s coverage of the Women’s Final Four this year.