Kevin Durant, Rich Kleiman Join NWSL Gotham FC Ownership Group as Minority Investors

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVMay 4, 2022

Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers at the Barclays Center, Sunday, Apr. 10, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
AP Photo/Seth Wenig

NJ/NY Gotham FC announced Wednesday that Thirty Five Ventures, led by Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant and business partner Rich Kleiman, has joined the club's ownership group as a minority investor.

"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. "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."

Kevin Durant @KDTrey5

Let’s get it <a href="https://twitter.com/GothamFC?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@GothamFC</a> <a href="https://t.co/Mbpdfshdio">https://t.co/Mbpdfshdio</a>

It's the second investment in a soccer club for Thirty Five Ventures, which is also a minority owner in MLS' Philadelphia Union. The company also added the Just Women's Sports media network to its portfolio last year.

The agreement with Gotham FC includes "content creation, social media support, player relations and community outreach."

"Bringing in Kevin, Rich and 35V as investors is a huge statement about the positive trajectory of our club," team chairperson Tammy Murphy said. "The level of enthusiasm they’ve displayed has been above and beyond anything we could have anticipated."

Thirty Five Ventures is the latest arrival to the Gotham FC ownership group. Longtime USWNT forward Carli Lloyd, who finished her club career with NY/NJ, joined in April, and KB2 Sports' Kristen Bernert and Karen Bryant joined in March, per Meg Linehan of The Athletic.

Murphy and her husband, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, along with businessmen Steven Temares and Ed Nalbandian, lead the club's ownership.

Gotham FC was founded in 2006 under the name Jersey Sky Blue and later became Sky Blue FC before its most recent rebranding in 2020.

The club shares Red Bull Arena in New Jersey with MLS' New York Red Bulls.

NY/NJ qualified for last season's NWSL playoffs before losing to the Chicago Red Stars in the quarterfinals. It also advanced to the championship match of the 2021 Challenge Cup before falling to the Portland Thorns in a penalty shootout.

Gotham FC kicked off the 2022 NWSL season Sunday with a 3-0 road win over the Orlando Pride. It will visit Torero Stadium on Saturday to face the San Diego Wave.