Kevin Durant co-founded company joins Gotham FC as minority investor
An investment company co-founded by Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant is joining the Gotham FC’s ownership group.
Thirty Five Ventures, or 35V, co-founded by Durant and entrepreneur Rich Kleiman, has joined the North Jersey-based professional women’s soccer club as minority investors, the team said Wednesday. The news comes on the tails of soccer legend and former player Carli Lloyd re-joining the team as a minority owner last week.
“As a New York-based company, the opportunity for us to partner with a forward-thinking team like Gotham FC was a no brainer,” said Kleiman in a statement. “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.”
Gotham FC has been buzzing on its business side. Over the past five months, the team has made key additions to its front office and also announced a slate of new minority investors.
In January, the franchise named seasoned sports executive Andrea Pagnanelli as the club’s chief business officer. Two months later, the team announced Kristin Bernert and Karen Bryant as new minority owners, rounding out a front office led by women.
That front office includes former players like Lloyd, who finished her storied career as a soccer player with the franchise last season, and general manager Yael Averbuch West, who was the team’s first-ever draft pick.
Other owners include Ed Nalbandian and Steven Temares. New Jersey’s first couple, Gov. Phil Murphy and Tammy Murphy, are majority owners of the team.
“Bringing in Kevin, Rich, and 35V as investors is a huge statement about the positive trajectory of our club,” said Tammy Murphy, the team’s club chair, in a statement. “The level of enthusiasm they’ve displayed has been above and beyond anything we could have anticipated.”
Durant, a two-time NBA champion whose season with the Brooklyn Nets ended after a painful four-game sweep against the Boston Celtics last week, is no stranger to investing. He and Kleinman, Durant’s longtime manager and a former music executive, co-founded Thirty Five Ventures in 2016 — and have made investing in women’s sports a priority.
The company invested in Just Women’s Sports, a women’s sports-focused media platform, last year. The company also partnered with basketball star Sabrina Ionescu in June that included the New York Liberty star becoming an ambassador for the company’s Boardroom sports business media network. The duo also serve as advisory board members of Athletes Unlimited, an athletes-centric league that has been a prominent player in the women’s sports space.
“This is another big step forward for our franchise,” said Nalbandian, Gotham’s managing owner, in a statement. “Kevin and Rich are two of the most influential people in sports and their work in the business and entertainment world and their significant investment in Gotham FC illustrates the potential of our club.”
Gotham FC won its first game in the 2022 NWSL season last week, defeating Orlando Pride, 3-0, on the road. The team will face the league’s newest expansion team, San Diego Wave, on Saturday at 10 p.m., before returning home to Red Bull Arena to face the North Carolina Courage at their home opener at 7 p.m. on May 14.
Melanie Anzidei is a reporter for NorthJersey.com. To get unlimited access to the latest news, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.