NWSL and Nike announce extended partnership through 2019

Nike soccer ball, Thorns training, 3.9.15

CHICAGO (Sept. 30, 2015) – The National Women’s Soccer League and Nike, the world’s leading soccer brand, have extended their partnership through the 2019 season, the league announced Wednesday. The continued relationship solidifies Nike's role as the league’s official club kit, apparel and equipment, supplier of the league ball, and provider for all nine NWSL teams, as well as any future teams.

"Nike has been an outstanding partner and shares our long-term vision for progress, innovation, and player development,” NWSL Commissioner Jeff Plush said. “We have enjoyed a tremendous start to our journey together, and we continue to look for ways to elevate soccer in this country to new heights. This partnership is integral to that journey.”

Additionally, Nike will continue to offer the NWSL the option to collaborate on innovation initiatives in soccer technology and design throughout the duration of the agreement, as well as providing a sport science resource to each team in the league.

"Nike is extremely proud to continue our partnership with the NWSL,” says Andrea Perez, North America General Manager of Soccer for Nike. “This extension not only gives soccer fans more opportunities to see their favorite athletes in action, but it also reinforces Nike's overall leadership in women’s soccer, helping to grow the women’s game beyond where it stands today.”

Expanding on its long-standing partnership with U.S. Soccer and the U.S. Women’s National Team, Nike began its relationship with the NWSL in 2012 as one of the league’s founding sponsors. Today, the NWSL is comprised of nine teams, featuring National Team players from the U.S. and around the world.

As one of the premier leagues in the world, the NWSL was represented by 57 players from 11 different countries with 51 players making at least one appearance in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. In addition, NWSL players recorded 25 goals and 15 assists in 37 matches during the tournament.

Following the World Cup, the NWSL has experienced a significant increase in interest and excitement over the return of all the international players, especially the U.S. National Team players who brought home a world title. The enthusiasm for the NWSL is at an all-time high with 18 of 44 matches selling out and average attendance increasing by 29% since the end of the World Cup. The League set a new single-season attendance record with an average of 5,046 fans per game and 454,100 fans in total attendance in 2015.

“This partnership with the NWSL demonstrates Nike’s commitment to the women’s game,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. “As the league grows, Nike's continuing support will be instrumental in growing the women’s game domestically and also globally.”

Nike has sponsored the US Women’s team since 1995, and has supported some of the greatest female players in the world, past and present. The largest building at Nike’s World Headquarters is even named after legendary player, Mia Hamm. This year the Women’s National Team has had unprecedented success, winning the Women’s World Cup in stunning fashion and elevating the game to new heights in the U.S.

Along with the nine NWSL club teams, Nike sponsors many of the players in the league, including a majority of the current U.S. Women’s National Team:

Boston Breakers (Alyssa Naeher)
Chicago Red Stars (Christen Press, Julie Johnston)
Houston Dash (Carli Lloyd, Meghan Klingenberg)
FC Kansas City (Amy Rodriguez)
Portland Thorns FC (Alex Morgan, Tobin Heath)
Seattle Reign FC (Hope Solo, Megan Rapinoe)
Washington Spirit (Ali Krieger, Ashlyn Harris, Crystal Dunn)
Western New York Flash (Sydney Leroux, Whitney Engen)

"This deal is really about the future of the league," says Carli Lloyd, Houston Dash and USWNT forward. “For women’s soccer to continue to flourish, we need partners like Nike who are committed. In past, there’s always been a huge question mark around the future. Now, the stage is set for continued success at the national level, as well as the club level.”

NWSL Golden Boot winner and league MVP Crystal Dunn adds, “The NWSL gave me an opportunity to continue my development on-field during the Women’s World Cup. The chance to compete against other professionals throughout the summer definitely contributed to my current roster spot with U.S. Women’s National Team.”

The 2015 NWSL Championship Game featuring FC Kansas City vs. Seattle Reign FC will be held on Thursday, Oct. 1 at 9:30 pm ET on FOX Sports 1 at Providence Park in Portland, Ore. Tickets are available for purchase by calling (888) 736-6849 or online at www.portlandthornsfc.com.

The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) is a nine-team Division-I women’s professional soccer league featuring national team players from Canada, Mexico and the U.S. The nine clubs are the Boston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars, Houston Dash, FC Kansas City, Portland Thorns FC, Seattle Reign FC, Sky Blue FC, Washington Spirit and Western New York Flash.

Based in Chicago, the NWSL is supported by the Canadian Soccer Association, Federation of Mexican Football and the United States Soccer Federation. For more information about the NWSL, log on to the league’s official website at www.NWSLsoccer.com.