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Part start-up story, part goose-bump inspiring sports doc, the three-part series takes us on to the field and behind the scenes to tell the unlikely origin story behind LA’s new professional women’s soccer team, Angel City, which upended the business model behind pro sports teams while bringing together an unprecedented 100+ high-profile investors — most of them women.
Natalie Portman, who was instrumental to the team’s founding, is featured throughout, along with soccer icons including Julie Foudy and Abby Wambach and backers such as Alexis Ohanian, Eva Longoria, and Jennifer Garner.
It feels like a long time coming — this doc, this team, this story. Not just because it shines the HBO Klieg lights on a women’s pro sports team at a time when all media attention is focused on men’s basketball, hockey, baseball, and soccer, golf, etc.
No, what makes this docuseries a must-watch is that it reveals how the entire playbook behind professional sports was thrown out to form Angel City, the upstart LA soccer team created during the pandemic by an unlikely coalition of high profile investors, most of them female. Even more impressive is that all of these backers got on board while ensuring that the players would get fair pay, a cut of ticket sales, better working conditions, and career training for when they leave the sport. I mean, you gotta wonder what the guys over at Wrexham will have to say about this.
“In order to change systems, you have to start over,” Abby Wambach explains in the series. “And you have to rebuild it with something different.” Wambach reveals that after receiving the ESPYS Icon award in 2016 along with Kobe Bryant and Eli Manning, she became sharply aware of how different their retirements would unfold. She needed to find a job and health insurance to pay the bills. They needed to figure out how to spend all their millions.
Many of us remember where we were in July of 1999 during the women’s World Cup finals, when an ecstatic Brandi Chastain fell to her knees in her sports bra, and women’s soccer was suddenly the biggest story of the summer. It felt like a major turning point.
Yet as the series makes clear, it’s been a rocky road for women’s sports and women athletes in the nearly quarter century since. Will an all new business model, a massive coalition of female backers, and the passions of the younger generations, they might finally be able to truly change the game.
“We believe that in order for women’s sports to grow, we have to fill that stadium,” as Angel City’s Catherine Davila explains. Watch the series, then check out their games to see if they can pull it off.
A rousing sports story wrapped around an illuminating business story, Angel City drops us into the stadiums and captures the adrenaline rush of a brand new pro sports team, where the stakes are higher than they’ve ever been.
new team, Angel City offers valuable insights into what it takes to defy history and create a new business model for womens sports. women to finally have the collective muscle — and now the platforms — to truly change the game. Watch this series to see how.
…soccer fans, women’s sports fans, and anyone interested in start-up stories. Or just watch it when you’re in need of inspiration. You might even find yourself wanting to join an AYSO Adult League.
Where to watch it: HBO Max
The team’s lead investor, Alexis Ohanian, got inspired while watching the 2019 World Cup Final with his wife, tennis star Serena Williams, and their daughter, Olympia. “And I mention to my wife, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice one day if Olympia played in the World Cup?’” Ohanian told CBS News. “And without missing a beat, Serena says, ‘Not until they pay her what she’s worth.’ And I said, ‘challenge accepted.’” (Olympia, 5, is also an investor.)