Chicago’s upcoming USL team is beginning to look very, very serious.
The USL announced on Wednesday that Chicago Cubs owner and Chairman Tom Ricketts would take majority ownership of the team. The Ricketts family purchased the Cubs in Jan. 2009 as the team won its first World Series in over 100 years in 2016.
Ricketts joins a project headed by Sterling Bay, the Chicago-based real-estate developer and investor that began the USL expansion process in November while beginning the process of developing a soccer stadium at a Lincoln Yards site within the city.
“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,” said USL CEO Alec Papadakis. “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 folks at Sterling Bay, we look forward to their contributions to the future of professional soccer in Chicago.”
Previously, Sterling Bay had announced a plan for a 20,000-seat stadium that would be part of a mixed-use development spanning more than 70 acres.
The team is expected to begin play in 2021.
“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. “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.”