Regional President, Los Angeles
Metropolitan Area, PNC Bank
Co-Founder and President
Angel City FC
Todd Wilson: Hello and thank you for joining us today for what I expect to be a riveting and exciting conversation with one of my favorite people in the world, Julie Uhrman, founder and president of Angel City Football Club. I'm Todd Wilson. I'm the regional president in Greater Los Angeles for PNC Bank. I'm also a season ticket holder for Angel City FC and the proud father of a 17-year-old soccer player. I am also proud to say that I'm one of 4800 certified women's business advocates for PNC across the country who are here to help support women businesses and women financial decision makers. We're happy to host you for the 13th Annual Women in Business Symposium, here for Angel City, and I'm glad to talk to Julie and hear everything she has to tell us about her journey with Angel City.
So, let's get started with our Chalk Talk with my good friend, Julie Uhrman. But before we get started, I'd like to cut to a short clip which will set the stage for what you're about to see.
Speaker: Yes, beautiful people, do you know what's better than putting on for your city? Is your city putting on for you. We at Angel City Football Club are thinking differently about football. This is not just a game, this is bigger than a game. We want to build an organization where mission and capital can co-exist. And that started from day one.
LA's new soccer team, star studded group of women investors, creating the largest female lead ownership group in professional sports, really does raise the profile. People want to watch great stories. They want to watch great talents. Angel City is looking to win and flip the culture of soccer upside down. They are putting an emphasis on better pay, supporting players and, of course, winning.
Todd Wilson: Man, there's a reason they call that a sizzle reel. Well, let's get started. Julie, as a serial entrepreneur and one of the highest profile women in all of women's sports, how did you find yourself to Angel City? Why here and why now?
Julie Uhrman: Started with a basketball game, so I grew up playing sports. I'm Los Angelean, born and raised here, but I never played soccer. And Kara Nortman, one of my co-founders, she and I both grew up playing basketball against each other here in LA. I played for Brentwood. She played for Harvard-Westlake. We won every time. She doesn't like me sharing that part, but it's a true statement. And every summer we do a wild feminist women who take basketball league. So it's a single game we play over the summer with a bunch of venture capitalists and technology women here in LA, and we had a game on August 19th just following the 2019 World Cup, where the US women's National team won the championship again and Kara came to the game and told us all about her experience going to the World Cup, hanging out with the players and what she really experienced, which she felt was really a tipping point for women's sports, specifically the sport of women's football and then pulled me aside after the game and said, you're an entrepreneur. Natalie Portman, the actress and I have this idea to bring a women's professional soccer team to LA. Would you be interested in working with us to figure out how we could make it happen?
Todd Wilson: Why is now the right time for women's soccer in the United States?
Julie Uhrman: Absolutely. Well, it really started in 2019 with that championship game. Over 1 billion people watched that match. Nike sold more US women's national team jerseys than any other league or any other team in that month of August. And it's continued since then, even leading up to the World Cup this year, where Australia is moving the home opener from a stadium that seats 20,000 fans to a stadium that seats 40,000 fans. You saw sellout crowds for the Euros in Europe. Even Angel City sold out for games last year of 22,000 fans with an average of 19,000 fans per game. We're starting to see higher coverage on television. The viewership of the NWSL championship game this last October did over 950,000 viewers, which was just shy of the million viewers that the MLS had last year. And so, you're starting to see more attention and awareness for women's sports and people engaging it not only by watching it, but with their pocketbooks actually coming to the matches, buying jerseys, buying kits. And it's really because these athletes, not only are they incredible, but they're incredible human beings. And now as a fan, you have the ability to follow them outside of four times a year. I can follow Alex Morgan on social media. I can follow Christen Press on social media. I can see that they play for San Diego Wave FC or Angel City FC, and now I have the ability to go see a game in my backyard. With Angel City, we try to create the best experience around so it makes you want to come and it makes you want to come back.
Todd Wilson: Many people know Angel City because of their investor base, high profile athletes, high profile movie stars. Why you? Why were you the right person to lead this organization?
Julie Uhrman: I think one of the core tenets of being an entrepreneur is this concept of bravery or courage. Like you don't see problems, you see solutions, you don't see challenges, you see opportunities. LA is an incredibly crowded marketplace. There are 11 professional sports teams and include USC and UCLA, and we wanted to bring a 12th professional sports team here, a third soccer team and a women's soccer team at that. So, we had a number of headwinds. What made Angel City successful today, and I think continues to be successful is how we approach this. We never want it to be just a soccer club. We really wanted to be a global brand that could drive a ton of awareness to drive to gender equity and pay equity, which are our ultimate goal, which can lead to revenue that can then be put back into the community through impact. So, we built Angel City under this premise of mission and capital to coexist where we lead with passion and purpose to drive to profitability. And that message of combining mission and capital resonated mostly with actresses and actors and athletes because they use their platforms not only to profess their professional goals, but also their personal goals or their social impact goals. And so, when we went to Eva Longoria, Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Garner, Uzo Aduba, America Ferrera, Billie Jean King, Lindsey Vonn, Abby Wambach, Julie Foudy, Mia Hamm. I mean, these names are incredible, but they understood what we were trying to do. It wasn't just about growing the sport of women's football or growing women's sports in general, but it was really using our platform, using our voice, using these incredible athletes and the sports capital of the world to amplify what it is we're doing to ultimately drive to equity and in our case, gender equity, pay equity, viewership equity, media equity. Did you know that 4% of all media coverage today on sports is for women? 4%. Luckily, we have other avenues to tell our stories. We can tell it through social, we can tell it through our players, but that's just unacceptable. And so being able to build this incredible ownership group led by my co-founder Natalie Portman, who have gigantic followings to tell our story, all we need is someone to pay attention to Angel City, and then it's up to me and my team to bring them in, create fans like yourself, season ticket holders since day one. And then you bring your friends and your family to come and support us as well.
Todd Wilson: That's great. I know we jumped right into Angel City, but maybe let's take half a step back. Tell me a little bit about your career path and what led you to be the right person at the right time for this role.
Julie Uhrman: How long do we have? It's a roller coaster. It's funny, when I talk to young kids, one of the first pieces of advice that I tell them is your career is long. Like, I got out of college and I was really antsy to go. But I'm decades, we won't say how many. I'm decades into my career and I've probably had 3 or 4 different careers in that time span. I graduated college and wanted to be an investment banker, which isn't much different than being an entrepreneur. I want to take - I want to make ideas come to life. And if you're an investment banker, you're raising money, right? You're helping these companies progress. So, I started as an investment banker. Then I started my own company in 1999. So, the height of the dot com B2B sort of bubble, which burst. And then I sort of looked around at what industries were most exciting to me, and it really was entertainment. I think it's because I'm born and raised here. So, I spent 10, 15 years in media, mostly in gaming, traditional console gaming, mobile gaming. And then I started my first company called Ouya, which was an Android based video game console, and did it really differently. It was a big idea. We had to build a hardware, software, game ecosystem, an SDK, a marketplace for games. And as I went up and down Sand Hill Road to raise money, I got hundreds of nos. It was too complex, it was too difficult. I'm a first time CEO. I'm a female CEO, which came up a number of times. And every time I went for a new pitch, I lowered the amount of money I wanted to raise because I just needed to build a prototype because I believe so much that this was possible.
And maybe after the 30th or 40th no, I was really concerned this wasn't going to happen and started following Kickstarter, which is a crowdfunding platform, and I noticed that on Kickstarter there was a phone - sorry, there was a watch that was based on the Android operating system called Pebble that raised $10 million. And there were a couple game developers that had raised a couple hundred thousand dollars each. And I thought, well, maybe there's an audience on Kickstarter for people who care about new technology and gaming. And so, within a month, we launched Ouya on Kickstarter. When I say we, there were three of us at the time. The goal was to raise $1 million over the 30-day campaign, and we ended up raising $1 million in the first eight hours, $2 million in the first day, and we finished at $16 million, which proved the product market fit, which then all the VCs that said No had come back and said yes and spent the next couple of years building Ouya until I sold it.
From there, I continued to be really excited about new content and entertainment. I spent some time in virtual reality. I think we're still too soon for virtual reality, unfortunately, but it will revolutionize entertainment when it's ready. I don't think we're ready to wear devices on our head yet that are uncomfortable. And then from there, I went to Lionsgate, the studio, and spent a couple of years building out their streaming platform. So, a lot of different things, but the through line is really direct to consumer, entertainment and content and bringing something new in a probably really established traditional space, which really is no different than Angel City in the way we want to build it.
Todd Wilson: Wow, what a career before you got to Angel City. So, talk a little bit about what you took from your career as an executive in the gaming entertainment industry and incorporated it here at Angel City.
Julie Uhrman: Yeah, it's simple and I think it's what you guys think about at PNC. It's customers first, it's fans first, it's gamers first. You have to build a product that your community is going to embrace. And in sports, it's whether you win or lose, right? You want that community to come back no matter what. LA is always called a fickle sports market. If your team is winning, you're showing up. If your team is losing, you have something better to do on a Saturday and a Sunday. And so how do you build something that your fans, your customers, your consumers want? So, what we did was we went to them first and we built Angel City with them, with them in mind as we thought about our mission, our values, our marks, our logos, our crest, even how we wanted to show up. Because if we could create that emotional connection with our fans, then they're going to be an Angel City fan regardless of what the scoreboard looks like at the end of a match.
Todd Wilson: One of the interesting things about running a business versus running a sports team, when you think about success on a sports team, people tend to think about it in terms of wins and losses. But what you're doing is so much different than that. Talk about how you view success at Angel City.
Julie Uhrman: Yeah, it's a great question. And you're right, we don't look at it only that way. We want to have a positive impact in the community. We want to drive forward equity for all women. We want to have - to show that women's professional sports and in our case, soccer can be successful. So, we judge ourselves on a number of metrics. One of them is what is the impact we've had in the community, both immediate and systemic. So, one of the programs we created when we started selling season tickets was we learned very early on that the number one reason that young girls stopped playing sports is because they can't afford a sports bra, which is devastating and understandable given my sports bras are probably ten years old because they're expensive. And if you're part of a family or a culture, that's not girl first, but maybe boy first. If you don't buy a sports bra for your young boy and the girl gets the hand-me-downs, they're not getting a bra and now they don't play anymore. So, when we started selling tickets, we partnered with Nike and donated 22,000 bras to young girls in need. 22,000 being the total number of tickets in the stadium. So that was one way we judged ourselves, how can we have an immediate impact in the community. We gave out over a 500,000 meals last year through our program with DoorDash, where we try to address that last mile. We have coached - we have 70 coaches in our Angel City coaching network that we have helped coach and train so that they can go out and coach.
So, we judge ourselves on the impact we're making. We put over $1.1 million to work last year. We work with 29 different organizations. So how has that had an immediate impact and how have we laid the roots for future impact? That's one way. The second way is just attention and awareness for women's sports. Do people know about Angel City? Do they know about the National Women's Soccer League? Do they know about our players? Do they know about the impact we're having? So, we want to make sure we tell our story and we judge ourselves really by reach and mentions and earn media. Because if we can show a different way of building a team, if we can show a different way of ultimately driving to profit through purpose, hopefully others will follow us. So that's another way, like are other teams picking up our 10% model where we give 10% of our sponsorship dollars back into the community. We give 1% of our net gate receipts to our players who use their name, image and likeness to promote ticket sales. So, are other people following us or other people are adopting us? We like to create the greatest show on earth for every single home match. There are other teams trying to create that same level of experience.
And then I would say the third way is winning on the pitch, because winning on the pitch will allow everything else to work but we also want to be really good at the primary thing that Angel City is doing today, which is playing football.
Todd Wilson: So, we all recognize that gender inequality has been around forever and still exists, unfortunately. Title nine has been around for 50 plus years. The NWSL has been around for more than ten years. Why did this work now? Talk a little bit about why it worked now. And maybe as you do that, talk about the process of raising the money around the franchise. Why were you able to convince others that now was the right time?
Julie Uhrman: Yeah, I mean, I would say it's working. Part of it is our approach. We are unapologetic about telling our story. We're unapologetic about demanding our value. If I asked you to name one person on the US men's national team, could you? And I'm not going to put you on the spot, but like, if I asked you to -.
Todd Wilson: Maybe one.
Julie Uhrman: If I asked you to name three, if I asked you to name four, if I asked you to name three players. And I know Avery plays soccer and it's a cheat question. But if I asked you to name someone in the US women's national team, I would say majority of people could say Megan Rapinoe, they could say Alex Morgan. They could say Christen Press, they could say Lindsey Horan. These are household names, right? So, one of the reasons it's working now is that these athletes, these incredible athletes, not only are they the best in what they do globally - football isn't a US based sport. It is a global sport. So globally, they are truly the best at this sport. That's one. Two, they have transcended the idea of being a sports icon. They are cultural icons. Alex Morgan has 9 million following. Megan Rapinoe has 4 million following, Christen Press has millions of followings. That's two. The third thing is I don't need ESPN or Fox or Sports Illustrated to create a relationship with my favorite athlete. I can use Twitter for that. I can follow Christen, I can follow Alyssa Thompson. I can follow Sydney Leroux. I can follow Julie Ertz. I can know what they're doing. I know what team they're playing for. I know who they care about and I know how I can show up to support them. So social media has created an ability for us to have a direct connection with the players who we love and then to follow them and support them in their careers. And I think that's fundamentally different.
Ten years ago, if you were a sports fan, say you support leagues first, team second, players third. I love baseball, right? I'm an LA Dodger and therefore I love Kershaw. That would be the way someone would have a conversation with you. But today, we believe it's the flip. We believe you follow players first. I love Christen Press. Christen Press plays for Angel City Football Club. I'm an Angel City fan. She also plays for the US women's National Team. I'm going to watch her on the US women's national team. And you know what? I love soccer. Now, unfortunately for me, if Christen Press goes to another team, right, I may lose that fan, but I also have 27 other players that I am helping build up their brand, I'm telling their stories, we're giving them visibility so that I'm not reliant on one person but also instead of leaning into one audience, Angel City Football Club, I get to lean into the audience of 28 players plus Angel City Football Club, plus the NWSL, and in our case, 100 investors, 60 of which are celebrities and athletes. And I get to lean into their model.
So, I think the ability for us to tell our story has gotten easier. I think the ability for fans to connect with those athletes that they love and be able to follow them has gotten easier. And I think in my case in particular with women's football, we also are cheering for it. Like you want to cheer for winners. It's easier to cheer for winners. It's easier to bring people on and to become fans with you if you're cheering for winners. And these women that are part of the NWSL and part of the US women's national team are winners. So that makes it easy, too.
Todd Wilson: Great. Another question here. Angel City is the only professional sports team in the country, majority owned and run by women. Talk a little bit about what it's like to manage women, and the nuance of managing women. And it will be interesting to our audience out there for the Women in Business Week.
Julie Uhrman: Yeah, well, it's funny. We have a neon sign in our office that says, what's this meeting about? And that's because in probably our first year of developing Angel City, we only had women. I mean, I think we got to maybe 15 people before we ever had a man. And that wasn't intentional. But you're building a business, it's about sports and we're all athletes, but it's also about purpose, it's also about having a connection to LA. It's also about understanding soccer. So, for whatever reason, we had a majority female team. And when you get 15 women on a Zoom call because you're in the middle of COVID, you end up talking a lot before you get to the point. So almost in every single meeting it was, what's this meeting about? Oh yeah. And then it was literally the most productive meeting I have ever had. It always ended early. I'd never have to send follow up notes because I never questioned someone's ability to follow through. This team consistently over delivers. I'm constantly surprised by how much they accomplish and how well they do it. So, I would say the biggest challenge for me managing all these women has been setting ambitious enough goals, setting big enough goals because we're going to achieve them. So, I want to make sure they're big enough that we can even blow our own minds.
And last year, 2022, where we kicked the soccer ball for the first time, it was the first time in my career where I stopped creating goals for my team because we just kept beating them. And it wasn't that they were so low to begin with, it's just that we did magical things. When we started developing Angel City, we were told by those who know that we would be lucky if we got 5000 fans to a game, we'd be lucky if we got 5000 season ticket holders. Well, I have 16,250 season ticket holders today. We had four sellout crowds last year of 22,000 fans, and it was really hard to say to the team, okay, well, nobody thought you'd do 5000. You've now done 16,000 and now I'm going to give you 18,000. Like I didn't want them to ever feel like they failed when they were already doing something miraculous in the first place. So, it was really special just to know that when you're driven by more than just the metrics, when you're driven by more than just the money, when you're driven by more than just the wins, i.e. the purpose, the impact, the reach, the attention, the awareness, the drive to equity, you just over deliver.
Todd Wilson: I like to say it's not an accident. We're sitting here with Julie in the Angel City headquarters here in Santa Monica. From the first that I learned about Angel City, I was impressed with what you guys were doing in the community. And I knew that PNC had to be part of this. Angel City is much more than a soccer club like PNC is much more than a bank. And we're proud to say that earlier this year, we signed a partnership as the founding member with Angel City and as the official women's business champion of Angel City. And look forward to everything we're here to do with you guys. Talk a little bit about why PNC was the right partner for Angel City. Julie Uhrman: Because you live your values. Like I said, Angel City is an organization where we combine mission and capital. When we partner with people, we want to make sure we're values aligned first, the money will come separate, but it's what's the impact that we can have in the community together? What's the positive benefit that we can generate together? And then enjoy the world of women's football together. And you are women champions. One of the first meetings we had together was in our office with Lou Costello, your boss, and I was talking about the Player 22 Fund, which is an opportunity for former players in the professional women's soccer league to get back into the sport and contribute to it, so they could get grants to be a commentator or a broadcaster, or maybe they want to go back to law school or business school, maybe they want my job. But we have 14 former US women's national team players as our owners and it's been incredible to access them and I've seen the joy that they have to be able to participate in the sport that they really built. And so, the idea behind the Player 22 Fund was to bring other former players back into the sport to help us build it and grow it. And I was telling you and Lou this story, we need - our goal is to raise $100,000 before we can officially launch it. We partner with the California Community Bank. And Lou looked at me, and this is before we had a partnership, before we signed anything, and Lou said, wait, you only need $15,000 more to launch this. And I was like, yeah, we have $85,000. We're so proud. We've done it in eight months, we're going to get it. I'm still like pitching, I'm still selling, I'm still telling my story. And he's like, no, wait, hold on, Julie. What you're saying is you only need $15,000 more and this program gets launched and now we can have a positive impact for all these women. And I said, yeah. Obviously, I didn't know where he was going with this. And then Lou goes, okay. Done. And I said, what do you mean, done? Done what? And he goes, done. Well, I'll write you a check right now. I'll write your check for 18 - sorry, for $15,000. Let's go. Well, let's launch it. And I was like, Lou, we're not partners yet. And this isn't the program we talked about and this is amazing, but we're still - you're still getting to know us. And he said, no, like this is what we do. This is what we believe in. I think this is an incredible program. It's obvious we're going to work together. So, tell me who to wire the money to. And that was incredible. I mean, that was before we even established this relationship together. And I've seen the work that you've done with us in our community. You actually live your values. It's not just propaganda. And that's why I've been excited to partner with you.
Todd Wilson: Tell me the real origin story around Angel City Football Club.
Julie Uhrman: How long do you have? It's actually really interesting and it's a lot of different situations that it really came together to really bring Angel City Football Club to life. So, Angel City is founded by three women, myself, Natalie Portman, the actress and activist, and Kara Nortman, who's a venture capitalist. And Kara was speaking at an event to a number of women, and Natalie was in the audience. And Kara ended her speech saying, I want you to walk up to three different women and give them your phone number. And it's not because you want to do business with them, it's not because you're trying to network. It's because you genuinely want to get to know them differently and you generally want to get to know them better. And when Kara came off the stage, Natalie walked up to her and put her name in Kara's phone and said, I thought your speech was amazing. I'd love to get to know you better. That started a relationship that continued when the MeToo movement sort of picked up steam. It was specifically in Hollywood, Natalie was very much on the front foot of that, talking about equal opportunity for women from a director's standpoint, from an actress standpoint, she actually gave the award for the best director of that year at the Academy Awards and made a point to say, and here are your male nominees for best director.
And then both Kara and Natalie became one of the early members of Time's Up before it's sort of changed. And the goal of Time's Up was to bring attention and awareness to women to drive towards equity. During that time, they spent a lot of time with the US women's National team who were about to embark on their lawsuit against US soccer for pay equity. And during that time, Natalie saw a speech by Abby Wambach, where she talks about receiving the Icon award from the ESPYs. The Icon Award from the ESPYs is the highest award you can get. You are an icon in your sport, which means you've accomplished everything you can possibly accomplish in your sport. You are an icon. You are the best. Abby receives this award with Peyton Manning and Kobe Bryant. So the three leaders in the sport, they're icons and Abby talks about when she left the stage, she sort of had an epiphany that Kobe and Peyton were walking into very different retirements than Abby was walking into. They had hundreds of millions of dollars. They could call their shot. They could do whatever they wanted to do. And Abby had to go out and figure out how to get a job to pay a mortgage, which she really didn't even understand what that was.
And it struck her that here I am, having won World Cups, having won gold medals, have been declared one of the best women in the world at what I do, receiving this icon award, and I don't know what comes next. And so that really struck a chord with Natalie. I think the third piece really was the US women's National team winning the World Cup in 2019. You have the best players in the world saying again that they are the best in the world. They don't have pay equity. They're about to embark on a lawsuit against US soccer. Abby Wambach was the best in the world, has to get a job. And Natalie just said, well, if I want to affect change, I need to have a seat at the table. I can't just talk about it anymore. So, Kara went to the World Cup. She's on the plane home from Paris and gets a text from Natalie and says, why don't we bring a team to LA? And I think Kara ignored it at first, thinking that sounded insane. And Natalie texted again, why don't we bring a team to LA? And Kara thought, I don't think Natalie is kidding. And that was the beginning. And that probably happened a month before that basketball game that I talked about where Kara came to me and said, hey, you're an entrepreneur, can you help us figure out how to bring a team to LA? It really was probably the most courageous, brave thing both Natalie, Kara and I guess myself have ever done. LA is a crowded sports market. It's a third football team. Well, if you add American football, the fifth. It depends who you are when you're watching this. Up until now, no one believed in women's sports. Nobody believed people would watch women's sports. Nobody believed people would invest in women's sports. No one believed women's sports was a true business. The WNBA had been around for 23 years at this point and hadn't really broken out as a success. And it was a big risk. But we saw the attendance when the US women's national team played here in LA. We saw the viewership and the attendance in Paris for the World Cup and we knew that we had the best players in the world in this global sport playing right here in our backyard. So, we believed and built Angel City.
Todd Wilson: So, I had the pleasure of joining you at the kickoff and launch party with your investors a couple of months ago. And what was amazing to me was the passion that you three, Natalie, Kara and yourself, share for Angel City and this mission. Just talk a little bit about that passion and what it's like to go through that with them.
Julie Uhrman: It's pretty incredible. I mean, you reference that we have a pre-game party before our first game of the year and we invite all of our investors and owners and partners. And these are - a lot of them are celebrities and they're athletes and they have lives and they're busy and they're filming and they're doing. And everybody came. And it's because, to your point, what we're doing is bigger than soccer. Like we're having an impact in women's sports. We're having an impact for women, we're having an impact and telling the story about gender equity and pay equity. And we talk about it every time we get a chance and they feel part of a movement. This isn't a moment in time. This isn't a one off. This is just a team. And if you're winning, I'll support you. And if you're losing, I'm busy. This is a movement and we're doing it together. And what's been so unique and incredible, both about the ownership group, but then our partners, is that because we lead with purpose and because we show up in the community and because we do things beyond the soccer pitch, everyone can participate. So, everyone can feel what I feel when I wake up every day is that we are truly making a difference. And I think people say that a lot, but they don't actually know if they are or they have to wait until their end of their lives to look back. And we see it every single day with the fans that show up at the stadium. I have fans come up to me and tell me what a difference it's made. And we're slowly starting to see other teams adopt some of our models, which means it's really starting to work.
Todd Wilson: So, Angel City has developed a unique social platform whereby 10% of all sponsorship dollars go back into the community. Talk a little bit about what led to that and the impact you hope that happens.
Julie Uhrman: Yeah. So, when we say we want to lead with purpose, we really believe that everything we do has to have some element of giving back. We never sacrifice purpose for profit or profit for purpose, but we recognize that they're both important to drive the bigger engine of driving attention awareness, driving revenue and then driving impact. And so, when we started talking to partners, we wanted to figure out what was the best way to bring our values to our partners. And really it was this concept that 10% of all sponsorship dollars will go back into the community. We developed a social impact platform with three verticals equity, essentials and education, which gives us the flexibility to work with partners to see where they really care and where our values are aligned so that we can make a difference. So, it could be food delivery, it could be coaching and training, it could be education, it could be nutrition. We've done work with the LGBTQ community, so it allows us to show up in the community where we can have the biggest impact. No one else in sports had done it before. In fact, we got a lot of calls from sports teams and owners saying, how are you giving away money before you even make it? And you realize, like most sports teams don't make money, so why are you doing this? And it was such an easy answer for us. It's because it's how we want to show up. We want to talk the talk and walk the walk. And what we've seen, it actually makes good business sense. We find better partners. We find partners that want to do the impact with us. And so, we get to have a conversation about the impact and not a conversation about what's the cost and value of this LED versus that radio spot versus that TV spot. And it aligns you right away with something bigger than the game, bigger than the bank. It aligns you with who your community is and who your customers are and who your fans are. And it just makes every partnership better.
Todd Wilson: So, we've talked a lot about Angel City and about that they're much more than a soccer team. Let's switch for a second onto the pitch. Talk a little bit about what your goals are for this season with the team.
Julie Uhrman: This season. So, this is season number two. And in any sport, being an expansion team is really hard. So, you have to bring players from different teams, different countries. They have to come together and it takes time as you know, whether you're a sports team or a business team to create chemistry. So last year, we just missed the playoff spot by one spot, which was devastating but understandable. So, this year we have higher expectations. Making the playoffs is certainly our goal this year. Having said that, and I'll probably will get in trouble, but we just signed one of our newest players, Julie Ertz, who's a US women's national team midfielder, who's absolutely incredible. We have Sydney Leroux coming off injury soon. We have Christen Press coming off injury soon. So I may not be designing rings yet, but they may start making its way into my subconscious.
Todd Wilson: For those in the audience who may not be as familiar with Angel City but now are growing familiar, how can they become a fan? How can they get involved? How can they learn more about Angel City and the NWSL?
Julie Uhrman: Sure. So, if you live in Los Angeles region, we would love for you to come to a game. We play at BMO Stadium downtown, but you can also support Angel City by buying merch, by tuning in, getting the viewership numbers up helps us with our next media rights negotiation. It also shows our other owners and our fans that there's a huge audience for women's sports. Follow Angel City on social media. Follow players on social media. I mean, it's both following, but it's also spending money. Look, the end of the day, we're here because we want to drive the equity. That's the real goal behind Angel City. So, I heard this stat from the World Economic Forum that it's going to take 257 years to get to gender equity. And I know I'm not going to be around in 257 years. So, we're trying to drive equity forward now. And in order to do that in sports, we just have to make sure that every constituent understands that they play a role, the fans play a role, the players play a role, the teams in orders play a role, and the partners and sponsors and the broadcasters play a role. At Angel City, we're trying to prove the value of women's sports, and I think we've done that through our sponsorship deals, through our ticket sales, through our incredible game day experience, and by doing things like the 10% model and the 1% fan fueled model where we give 1% of our net gate receipts back to our players, it's telling fans, hey, if I buy a ticket, I can actually help get to pay equity one day for players. If we give 10% of our sponsorship dollars and we have impact in the community and you get more customers because of your relationship with Angel City, the next time we go to renew, you're probably going to pay us a little bit more money.
Again, that's a step stone to get us to pay equity for the players. Same thing with the media rights deal. If we have 950,000 viewers, a million viewers, 2 million viewers, the amount of money that's going to go into the sport is going to grow, which eventually will funnel its way to the players. And so at least here at Angel City, we try to explain that everybody plays a role. We know it's going to take time. Let's hope it's not 257 years, but if we all work together, we can get there much faster.
Todd Wilson: I've had the pleasure of getting to know your team here at Angel City. First of all, I have to tell you, they're top notch. They've done a great job of our partnership and we've really enjoyed getting to know them. One thing is clear also is that they value your leadership and the role that you play at this organization. Talk a little bit about your leadership, your leadership style and how that's translated into leading Angel City.
Julie Uhrman: That's humbling to hear. We wouldn't be here without this incredible team, full stop. I think you can tell I'm an incredibly optimistic person. And when I get behind an idea, maybe that's my strength as an entrepreneur but I'm passionate and I'm excited and I really believe what it is I'm saying. And so, I think building a team of people that are also passionate is important. Not all of them are optimists. That's what makes everything great. But I try to lead with a lot of autonomy and accountability. I want to hire people that are great at what they do. I want to hire people that count on themselves and believe in themselves because I'm going to drive myself so much harder than whatever my metric is on a piece of paper, right? Like my own self-worth and how I value myself is always going to be tougher than what anyone else can put on myself. And so, if I just give people room to be their best selves and to deliver and to be their best, that has worked here. So, I set everybody - we set everybody's goals, but then I give them the authority to get it done. I give them the accountability, so they feel a sense of responsibility. And then my role just is to come in and put out fires and remove obstacles and to help where I can, maybe challenge ideas to make them bigger because they're always great but maybe there's a chance to do something bigger. And I think also to really create a yes and environment. As an optimist, hearing buts and no's is really difficult. It's very difficult for me. So, it's more of a yes and. So, we can do this and it's a positive challenge. Like we all want to achieve the same goal, but being really open to each other's points of view that there might be a different way of getting there. But we still think of ourselves as a startup. You know, we probably still need another 20% more people to be doing one job instead of 3 or 4 different jobs. And I think the way that we get that done is because there's so much pride in the work we do and a real sense of accountability and accomplishment. When there is success, you could actually point to the people who did it. And I think that's really important.
Todd Wilson: Julie, thank you again for being such a wonderful partner and sharing your insights for PNC's Women in Business Week. As a reminder, we have one more day for Women in Business, and that topic is how to talk to your kids about money. And you can register to participate at pnc.com/businesswebcast.