Alexis Ohanian and Serena Williams: Sports power couple

Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian at a fancy soccer-themed event
Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian have become L.A.’s premier sports power couple with their investment in Angel City and women’s sports in general.
(Zipeng Zhu / For The Times)
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A casual tweet by technology entrepreneur Alexis Ohanian Sr. about wanting to tap the enormous potential value in women’s sports by buying or launching a team — and an invitation from soccer star Alex Morgan to put his money where his heart was — led Ohanian to blend his passion and vision in a way that has changed the Los Angeles sports scene.

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Ohanian, husband of 23-time tennis Grand Slam singles champion Serena Williams and father to their daughters Olympia and Adira River, became the lead investor in soccer team Angel City FC of the National Women’s Soccer League through his venture capital firm, Seven Seven Six. The family lives in Florida, but he saw investing in Angel City as a means to honor his wife and amplify the spotlight she and her sister Venus Williams brought to female athletes — and to their childhood home — with their skills and their insistence on pay equity.

“Obviously, with Serena’s roots in Compton it was a sort of obvious one,” he said. “What’s been really special about this is the tidal wave, or the tsunami, was there already, in women’s sports, and I think I happened to grab a board on the right wave at the right time.”

Ohanian, 41, hasn’t been a silent partner in Angel City, which funnels 10% of every sponsorship dollar to the community. Nor has he been silent about his aspirations for the league. During his first NWSL board meeting, the Reddit co-creator told members he’s in the business of creating billion-dollar companies, and if their ambition and motivation weren’t similarly high, they should consider owning something else. “Three years later, it’s a very, very different board,” he said.


Ohanian and the Williams sisters also share ownership of LAGC, the Los Angeles franchise of Tiger Woods’ and Rory McIlroy’s TGL golf league, which plans to launch in 2025.

“An important part of the spirit and purpose of LA Golf Club is making golf our own, for everybody,” Serena Williams posted on social media while announcing her role in the venture.

Williams, 42, has long focused on giving back to the Compton area where she and Venus famously grew up training on local courts. They created the Yetunde Price Resource Center, a community center for Compton residents who have been affected by violence, in honor of their older sister, who was fatally shot, and worked with Nike to refurbish tennis courts in the area.

Ohanian feels at home here because as a kid, he often visited his grandfather, John, of Palos Verdes Estates, who recently died at 101. When in the area, Ohanian said, “you can often find me at Raffi’s in Glendale.”

He notes: “I just feel very, very fortunate to have this small role in the L.A. sports landscape, which is pretty damn iconic.”