Sue Bird joins NJ/NY Gotham FC ownership group

Sue Bird has become the latest big name to join the ownership group of NJ/NY Gotham FC of the National Women's Soccer League, the team confirmed Friday

Bird, a New York native, is retiring from the WNBA at the end of the season after 19 seasons with the Seattle Storm.

She joins an ownership group that includes Thirty Five Ventures, the investment firm of NBA star Kevin Durant; New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and wife, Tammy; and former U.S. women's national soccer team star Carli Lloyd.

"As the NWSL franchise in New York, investing in Gotham FC was an easy decision," said Bird, whose fiancee, Megan Rapinoe, is a fellow Olympic gold medalist who plays for the OL Reign of the NWSL.

"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. I am honored to join such a strong ownership group and look forward to the continued business growth and brand recognition for both Gotham FC and the NWSL."

The amount of the financial investment made by Bird was not disclosed but the club has been valued a $40 million -- a record for the league, per the reports. Forbes reported that Bird's investment includes a requirement that she serve as an adviser to the club.

In addition, multiple reports Thursday said that former New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning was also set to join Gotham's ownership group.

Manning hosts the popular "ManningCast" on ESPN with his brother, Peyton Manning, and also is a partner on the private equity firm Brand Velocity Group. He rejoined the Giants last June in a fan engagement and business operations role.

NWSL teams have become popular investments among celebrities. Actors Natalie Portman, Jennifer Garner and Eva Longoria are part of the ownership group of Angel City FC, which also includes Serena Williams.

Another tennis star, Naomi Osaka, is among the investors in the North Carolina Courage, and former first daughters Jenna Bush Hager and Chelsea Clinton own stakes in the Washington Spirit.