NWSL’s Chicago Red Stars set to sell to investor group led by Chicago Cubs owner

August 16 – The USA may have been knocked off their perch as the best women’s national team in the world. but there is still a growing appetite for investors to get involved in the domestic women’s league game.

Laura Ricketts, co-owner of MLB’s Chicago Cubs and a minority owner of the WNBA’s Sky, is leading an investor group that has reached an agreement in principle to buy the NWSL’s Chicago Red Stars.

Current owner Arnim Whisler put the club up for sale last December following his being named in a US Soccer-commissioned investigation – the Yates report – into systemic abuse and sexual misconduct that found Whisler had dismissed allegations against former Red Stars coach Rory Dames.

The reported price tag for the club is $35 million. The deal still has to be approved by the board of the NWSL with the investors saying they hope to close the acquisition by the end of August.

“I am honored to lead this group of Chicago business and civic leaders in our effort to purchase the Chicago Red Stars,” Ricketts said.

The investor group of Chicago and international businesswomen, includes Ventas CEO Debra Cafaro, part of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ ownership led by Fenway Sports Group.

“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,” said Ricketts.

“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 Red Stars, a founder member of the NWSL and runners-up in 2019 and 2021, currently lie 11th in the 12 team-league, five points off the play-offs. Two teams will be added to the NWSL in 2024 with San Francisco Bay Area and Salt Lake City, Utah being awarded franchises, and two more will be added in 2026.

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