It’s official: Eli Manning is the latest big name to invest in Gotham FC.
The National Women's Soccer League club announced on Wednesday that the former Giants quarterback, along with Pete Guelli, a current Giants executive, have joined the franchise as their newest minority investors. They join a growing ownership group that includes some of the biggest names in sports, including the legendary Sue Bird.
“I have lived and worked in this community for almost two decades,” Manning said in a statement. “It’s home to me, and Gotham FC is my family’s favorite soccer club. Combine that with the organization’s strong leadership, talented roster, and sustained growth, and it became clear that joining this great group was a fantastic opportunity.”
It had been rumored for weeks that Manning would be joining Gotham FC as one of its newest owners, after news broke that he and Bird were the latest stars tapped to join the franchise. Sportico was the first to report the news last month, citing three people familiar with the deal. The sports business outlet reported that Bird and Manning were investing at a $40 million valuation, making Gotham FC one of the most valuable clubs in the NWSL.
Gotham FC has not disclosed any of the financial details tied to their latest investors. In this year alone, seven new investors have signed on with the team. That roster includes Thirty Five Ventures, or 35V, co-founded by Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant and entrepreneur Rich Kleiman, as well as soccer legend and former player Carli Lloyd, who re-joined the team as a minority owner in April.
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Excited to be part of the great team at @GothamFC! I’ll see you at the August 28 match against ACFC as we work to raise money and awareness for @TackleKidsCancr - use code ELI20 for 20% off tickets. pic.twitter.com/cJaWmZ3JGc
— Eli Manning (@EliManning) August 10, 2022
With Manning and Guelli, the franchise has officially tapped some of the NFL's most prominent names in the New York market.
Manning retired from football in January 2020 after a 16-season career with the New York Giants. He was drafted first overall in the 2004 NFL draft, and is a two-time Super Bowl champion and MVP who holds the Giants’ franchise records for passing yards, touchdown passes, and completions.
Guelli has more than two decades of experience as a professional sports executive. Before joining the Giants, he spent 11 years with the Buffalo Bills. He was also an executive with the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets.
“Eli is known for the positive and influential impact he has on our communities,” Gotham FC chair and New Jersey first lady Tammy Murphy said in a statement. “His legendary work ethic, drive for success, and passion for giving back to the community will be tremendous assets for our club. Pete brings a depth of sports acumen that will bolster all we are working to achieve. It’s my honor to welcome them both to the Gotham FC family.”
Last month, Gotham confirmed that Bird would join the club's ownership group. The WNBA icon is in the final stretch of her legendary career with the Seattle Storm. Earlier this week, fans flooded Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle for Bird's final regular season home game.
“As the NWSL franchise in New York, investing in Gotham FC was an easy decision,” said Bird, who hails from New York. “The club has demonstrated sustained business growth and is established as a critical pillar in the community. There is a lot of talk about the power of investing in women’s sports. As an athlete in a position to invest, I’m excited to now lead by example."
Over the past year, Gotham FC has capitalized on being the only professional women's soccer team in the New York and New Jersey market by connecting with the area's biggest names, including Manning, Lloyd and Durant. The team shows no signs of slowing down, every few weeks announcing another major business deal.
The team has also successfully dipped into the Philadelphia market, which has no professional women's soccer team, through Lloyd's hometown ties. Though Lloyd is from New Jersey, her hometown farewell game last year was held at Subaru Park in Chester, Pennsylvania, which is closer to her hometown of Delran. The team will be returning there for its next home game on Aug. 20 against Orlando Pride.
This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Eli Manning joins ownership group of NWSL's Gotham FC