Chicago Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts will serve as majority owner of an upcoming USL Chicago club, adding a big name to the league’s ownership circles.
Plans for the USL Chicago club have been gathering momentum since last fall, when it was learned that Sterling Bay included a concept for a new stadium in its pitch to bring Amazon’s HQ2 to Chicago’s Lincoln Yards. It would later be revealed that Sterling Bay was moving forward with the stadium concept, with plans to bring a USL franchise into the 20,000-seat venue.
Sterling Bay is still involved in the initiative as the facility’s developer and maintains an ownership stake in the team, with Ricketts serving as the majority owner. The Ricketts family trust has owned the Cubs since 2009.
“My family is very excited at the prospect of bringing professional USL soccer to Chicago at this terrific new development,” Ricketts said in a press statement. “Sterling Bay is a tremendous partner and the USL has a great vision for meeting the demands of passionate fans and growing soccer’s fan base.”
“We couldn’t be more excited to be working with the Ricketts family to bring this project to life,” said Andy Gloor, Sterling Bay’s managing principal in a press statement. “With their deep expertise in sports franchising, the Ricketts are an ideal partner for us to collaborate with and energize Chicago sports fans with a new local team to rally around.”
There have certainly been plenty of highlights during the Ricketts family’s ownership of the Cubs, including a World Series title in 2016 (the team’s first since 1908). Off the field, the Cubs organization has overseen continual improvements to Wrigley Field, helping to modernize fan and player amenities in Major League Baseball’s second-oldest ballpark.
The USL Chicago club will play in a modern 20,000-seat stadium that should be fairly ambitious by USL standards. Along with professional soccer, the facility will be designed to host a variety of other events, including concerts.
“It speaks volumes about the growth of the USL when you continue to see interest and investment from proven sports business executives like Tom Ricketts,” USL CEO Alec Papadakis said in a press statement. “Over the last several years, we have assembled one of the most sophisticated and knowledgeable ownership groups in professional sports, drawn by our focus on building a sustainable, stable and professional organization with significant room for future growth. We welcome Tom and the entire Ricketts family to the USL. They bring a proven record of success to the team, and combined with the excellent group at Sterling Bay, we look forward to their contributions to the future of professional soccer in Chicago.”
Rendering courtesy Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.