It’s no secret that the Ricketts Family has had ownership ambitions beyond just the Chicago Cubs. They have, at varying times, expressed an interest in buying into a major European or English football club, and Laura Ricketts already has a minority stake in the WNBA’s Chicago Sky.
Now, Ricketts is leading a group that has agreed to by the National Women Soccer League’s Chicago Red Stars (via NBCSC):
According to a press release, a “diverse group of Chicago women business and civic leaders” have agreed to buy the team, with Ricketts leading the way in the purchasing process.
“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.”
It’s anecdotal, but from what I see in the sporting conversation out there, this sure seems like a savvy investment. Women’s soccer feels very much like it is on the continued upswing, and it’s not hard for me to imagine stateside popularity growing from here. (Freely admit, though: my knowledge of women’s pro soccer is just about zero. I know only what gets in front of me incidentally on TV, social media, etc.)
If the deal is completed, you can expect to see increasing cross-promotion, events, and overlaps with the Chicago Cubs. For example, some Sky games appear on Marquee, and it would not surprise me at all if there is an aim here to bring the Red Stars into that fold as well, especially now that Marquee is trying to stand up its standalone streaming service.
Cubs fans will also recall the other big connection to the Red Stars: forward Mallory Swanson is married to Cubs shortstop Dansby Swanson.