Tech entrepreneur Victoire Cogevina Reynal has launched a new investment initiative named the Mercury 13 fund, aimed at acquiring women’s football clubs in Europe and South America. With an initial capital injection of $100M, the fund seeks to catalyze change within the women’s football sector.
Named after the Mercury 13 – a group of female pilots who were denied participation in NASA’s astronaut program – the Mercury 13 fund has an ambitious mission to reshape the landscape of women’s football. Cogevina Reynal, known for her advocacy of gender equality within the football realm, is at the helm of this initiative.
The fund’s primary focus is acquiring women’s football clubs situated in Europe, specifically targeting potential deals in England, Spain, and Italy. One of the key hurdles in purchasing these clubs is their integration into existing men’s clubs. In Europe, women’s teams often operate as part of larger men’s organizations, making independent ownership a complex process. Compounded by the fact that only a minority of women’s teams operate profitably, this investment endeavor presents distinct challenges.
However, market trends indicate a shift in the women’s football ownership landscape. Notably, the recent acquisition of the NWSL’s Chicago Red Stars for approximately $35.5M by a group led by Chicago Cubs owner Laura Ricketts highlights the growing interest in women’s club ownership. Moreover, the upcoming NWSL franchise set to debut in the San Francisco Bay area is rumored to have incurred costs around $50M, further emphasizing the increasing valuation of women’s football clubs.
Cogevina Reynal, who co-founded the soccer app Gloria, which was acquired by WFS Europe last year, and initiated the first sports agency managed exclusively by women, SR All Stars, is well-versed in advocating for inclusivity within the sports industry. Her involvement as a Vice President of the German-based streaming platform OneFootball further solidifies her commitment to advancing women’s football.
The backdrop of these developments is the notable financial progress of women’s football, as exemplified by the FIFA Women’s World Cup’s revenue of $570 million. England’s WSL has experienced a substantial 60% increase in revenue, surpassing $41 million during the 2020/21 season. Although these figures signal positive growth, club valuations in the women’s football sector remain modest in comparison.
In light of this, the Mercury 13 fund’s launch may mark a strategic juncture for potential investors. As the fund aspires to facilitate acquisitions and consolidate ownership, it aligns with the trajectory of an evolving women’s football industry, poised for transformation.