The Portland Thorns officially have new owners.
Merritt Paulson of Peregrine Sports sold the Thorns to RAJ Sports for $63 million, according to an anonymous inside source cited by multiple news outlets. The price is a new National Women’s Soccer League record.
RAJ Sports is run by the Bhathal family of Southern California, whose financial success was established in the swimwear and real estate industries. Paulson reportedly turned down higher offers for the Thorns in favor of placing the team in the hands of a West Coast female owner.
Lisa Bhathal Merage will serve as the team’s controlling owner and representative on the NWSL Board of Governors. Her brother, Alex Bhathal, will be an alternate on the board.
The Thorns will stay in Portland, playing at Providence Park through 2035. As part of the deal, the Bhathals agreed to build a “new first-class, purpose-built, women’s soccer-specific training facility,” but the Thorns will continue practicing at the stadium through 2025.