Media reports have confirmed NWSL’s Chicago Red Stars is set to be sold off to a group led by Chicago Cubs co-owner Laura Ricketts.
According to sports news outlet Sportico, Ricketts will buy off the National Women’s Soccer League club from current owner Arnim Whisler for around $35.5m, although no official statements revealing the terms of the deal have been made yet.
“I am honoured to lead this group of Chicago business and civic leaders in our effort to purchase the Chicago Red Stars,” Ricketts was quoted as saying by Sportico.
“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 organisation on and off the pitch.”
The deal comes as the women’s game is set for a period of accelerated growth following the hugely successful World Cup in Australia.
Prospective new owners of the club will be eyeing increased engagement off the back of the tournament, which drew in a wider demographic of supporters to the league.
In terms of performance, there’s not much currently happening for the Red Stars as the team lingers at the bottom row of the league, while also lacking behind in attendance compared to its competitors. This can be partially attributed to the team not having any facility ownership rights, playing its home games at Illinois-owned SeatGeek Stadium.
Interestingly, the Red Stars has been around even before the NWSL was rebranded as a successor to the previous Women’s Professional Soccer tournament (WPS), with Whisler having cemented his place as a long-term founding owner after the club made its professional debut back in 2007.