CHICAGO — The National Women’s Professional Soccer team in Chicago officially has a new owner as of Friday.
A group led by Laura Ricketts is now in control of the Chicago Red Stars and ready to usher the club into a new era.
The Cubs co-owner and Chicago Sky minority owner along with a collection of business and civic leaders officially purchased them for $60 million on Friday after official approval from the NWSL board.
On August 15, it was announced that Ricketts had come to an agreement with former owner Arnim Whisler to purchase the Red Stars.
“We wholeheartedly believe in and are excited about the future of the Red Stars and the NWSL. There is unprecedented fan growth in women’s soccer globally, and we want to be a part of building on that momentum and success here in Chicago,” said Ricketts 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 reaching our ultimate goal: building a world-class championship organization on and off the pitch that sets the standard for excellence and accountability.”
Other investors in the team include.
- Angela E.L. Barnes – IDEO chief legal officer
- Traci P. Beck, M.D.
- Debra Cafaro – Ventas, Inc. chairman and CEO, Pittsburgh Penguins partner
- Laura Desmond – Smartly.io chair and CEO
- Sidney Dillard – Loop Capital partner, investment banker
- Megan Murphy – LaCrosse Milling Company owner
- Editha Paras – Non-profit executive
- Jennifer Pritzker – TAWANI Enterprises, Inc. president and CEO
- Hilary Rosen – Strategic communications consultant
- Jessica Droste Yagan – Impact Engine partner and CEO
- Tom O’Reilly – Entrepreneur
- Engelhardt Family Office
Ricketts said her first priority will be to meet with the players and ensure “the safety and support for the athletes on the pitch.” She along with the other investors are also interested in improving the team’s facilities, which are currently located at SeatGeek Stadium, along with the fan experience.
Founded in 2006, the Red Stars began play in 2009 in Women’s Professional Soccer, where they would stay for two seasons. They’d join the Women’s Premier Soccer League for the 2011 season then Women’s Premier Soccer League Elite in 2012.
In 2013, they joined the NWSL where they currently play, having made seven appearances in the playoffs and two appearances in the league championship match (2019, 2021).