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NWSL’s Red Stars bought by female ownership group led by Cubs coNWSL’s Red Stars bought by female ownership group led by Cubs co-owner Laura Ricketts owner Laura Ricketts

The Chicago Red Stars have new owners. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

An ownership group led by Laura Ricketts, co-owner of the Chicago Cubs and a minority owner of the Chicago Sky, agreed to purchase the Chicago Red Stars from the NWSL. Ricketts and the NWSL confirmed the sale in subsequent press releases, but the deal is still pending and requires approval from the NWSL’s board of directors.

Terms of the sale have not been disclosed, but the club is said to be worth around $35.5 million Sports Business Journal. The Washington Spirit sold for $35 million in early 2022.

Ricketts will be joined by a “diverse group of female Chicago business and civic leaders” in taking over the club, a statement said.

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

That last line, plus Ricketts’ Chicago ties, likely means the club will stay in its current city. Ricketts and her family purchased the Chicago Cubs in 2009 and on June 6, 2023, she became a minority owner of the WNBA’s Sky.

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The NWSL called the group “exceptional leaders” in another statement.

This would seemingly end the saga surrounding the Red Stars that began when former head coach Rory Dames resigned in 2021 following allegations of player emotional abuse. Then-owner Arnim Whisler later agreed to sell the team after being fired as chairman when the NWSL began its investigation into systematic league misconduct. The Red Stars were fined the most of any team — $1.5 million — and Women was permanently banned from the competition, along with three other coaches, after the NWSL concluded its investigation in January.

Chicago is currently 11th in the NWSL standings with 16 points. The roster features a number of stars from the U.S. women’s team, including goaltender Alyssa Naeher and forward Mallory Swanson.

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