Former NFL executive Julie Haddon was tapped as the 10-year-old NWSL’s chief marketing officer, and Tatjana Haenni, who most recently served as the Swiss Football Association’s women’s football director and spent more than 18 years at FIFA, will become the league’s chief sporting director. Bill Ordower, a 23-year MLS and Soccer United Marketing (MLS’ commercial arm) veteran and a partner at ArentFox Schiff LLP law firm, will assume the roles of chief operating and legal officer.
“Throughout the hiring process we were intentional about finding individuals who not only have the experience and qualifications necessary to succeed in these roles, but also a genuine enthusiasm for the future of the league,” Berman, who took over as commissioner in April, said in a statement. “I am confident Julie, Tatjana and Bill will add tremendous value to the league’s front office operations, and I am excited to have them on board as we continue taking the NWSL to new heights.”
In her new role, Haddon will oversee the planning, development and execution of branding, advertising and media efforts for the 12-team league. She will also lead the NWSL’s licensing and e-commerce efforts.
Haddon’s hire comes as the league, which will soon expand to 14 teams, pursues commercial growth. Club valuations are soaring as big-name owners enter the league and viewership is increasing. But the NWSL is still heavily dependent on marketing money and sponsor spend, as its current media rights agreements with CBS, which ends next season, and Twitch, concluding at the end of this year’s campaign, were worth around $4.5 million and $1 million, respectively, over three years.
Blue-chip brands like Nike and Delta have significantly increased investment in the league, but the NWSL’s sponsor portfolio has also recently taken unexpected hits. Voyager, a cryptocurrency platform that signed on as one of the league’s biggest sponsors in December, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this summer.
Haddon spent the last five years at the NFL overseeing global branding and consumer marketing, and was also an investor in the NWSL’s Chicago Red Stars. She joined the club’s ownership group in 2021, but the league said she divested from the club prior to assuming her role at the league office, which starts immediately.
Ordower will join the league immediately as well. He is tasked with spearheading player affairs and operations, including the negotiation and administration of all player rosters and contracts—the value of which increased significantly with the league’s first-ever CBA. He will also oversee the disciplinary process and all legal matters, including expansion, team sales and investments, and commercial transactions.
Haenni will transition into her player-focused role more slowly, leading the league’s talent development and retention strategies, working with other soccer entities including FIFA, CONCACAF and U.S. Soccer.