Cubs co-owner Laura Ricketts leads group set to buy NWSL’s Chicago Red Stars

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The Chicago Red Stars are set to be owned by a familiar face in town.

Chicago Cubs co-owner and Chicago Sky minority owner Laura Ricketts and a group of Chicago businesswomen have reached an agreement to buy Chicago’s NWSL squad, a Ricketts’ spokesperson shared on Tuesday. The terms of the deal are unknown and the sale still has to be approved by the NWSL’s Board of Governors. 

“I am honored to lead this group of Chicago business and civic leaders in our effort to purchase the Chicago Red Stars,” Ricketts said in a statement. “Our respective backgrounds in professional sports, finance, turnaround management, commercial real estate, marketing and advertising, paired with our deep community ties, make for a powerful combination that will serve us well in our ultimate goal: building a championship organization on and off the pitch.

“Building a championship culture begins with treating our players with the respect they deserve as women and athletes. We look forward to completing this transaction so that we can begin this new chapter for the team and fans.”

The Ricketts-led group of Chicago businesswomen will succeed Arnim Whisler once the sale is approved.

The new ownership group is hoping to complete the sale by the end of August, according to the press release. In the wake of the Yates Report, the club is in the midst of its worst season on the pitch in nearly 10 years. The Red Stars currently sit in 11th on the NWSL table and are on pace to miss the playoffs for the first time since 2014. 

United States women’s national team starting goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, forward Mallory Swanson and defender Tierna Davidson are among some of the team’s top stars. However, Naeher has been away from the club for over a month due to playing in the Women’s World Cup, while Swanson has missed much of the season after tearing her left patella tendon in April. 

USA’s Alyssa Naeher reflects on her game-winning save against England

USA's Alyssa Naeher reflects on her game-winning save against England

USA’s Alyssa Naeher reflected on her game-winning save against England in the 2019 Women’s World Cup Semifinal.

The sale of the Red Stars comes as the NWSL is set to expand in the coming years. Two teams will be added in 2024 with San Francisco Bay Area and Salt Lake City, Utah being awarded franchises. The NWSL has also announced plans to add two more expansion teams in 2026, with Boston reportedly already being tabbed as one of the cities that would bring the league’s total teams up to 16.

“We wholeheartedly believe in and are excited about the future of the Red Stars and the NWSL,” Ricketts said. “There is unprecedented fan growth in women’s soccer globally, and we want to be a part of building on that momentum here in Chicago.”

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