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Cubs owner Ricketts purchases majority ownership of Chicago USL team


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.”


  1. Like a moth to flame, MLS will not pass up a chance at adding billionaires who are experienced, successful sports owners. It’s generally been good for the growth of the league.

  2. There are a lot of people that HATE driving to Toyota Park (soon to be SeatGeek Stadium) but are just soccer fanatics in the city and surrounding areas. I think they will draw well. This is a positive for the city.

    • Is there room for two teams in Chicago or will this ownership group just end up buying the Fire and switching stadiums?

      • Yes there is plenty of room for two teams in Chicago. I think Chicago has been waiting for this. This is obviously a big power play to take over soccer in the city. The Fire screwed themselves by building Toyota Park in Bridgeview on a industrial wasteland away from downtown. Ricketts and Sterling Bay have proposed a stadium site in a well populated area of the city that people will flock to and won’t have to drive. It’s not far from a train station as well. I see this as a move to build a strong brand and then make the move for MLS expansion after a few years.

      • Given the relationship between MLS and the USL it seems impossible this would happen without MLS’ consent.

        That said, absolutely Chicago is big enough to support a couple of teams at the 20,000 fan support level.

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