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Sale of the NWSL's Chicago Red Stars to group led by MLB's Cubs co-owner is finalized

CHICAGO (AP) — The National Women's Soccer League formally approved the sale of the Chicago Red Stars to an ownership group led by Chicago Cubs co-owner Laura Ricketts.

The league's Board of Governors unanimously approved the $60 million deal Friday.

Ricketts and her family have owned the Cubs since 2009. She is also a minority owner of the WNBA's Chicago Sky.

The new Red Stars ownership group also includes Debra Cafaro, chairman and CEO of Ventas and a partner in the Pittsburgh Penguins ownership group; Impact Engine CEO Jessica Droste Yagan; Laura Desmond, chair and CEO of smartly.io; Sidney Dillard, a partner at Chicago’s Loop Capital; and others.

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“Collectively, we are committed to empowering our great athletes, rewarding our loyal fans, and continuing to build on the NWSL’s exponential growth. We are in the early days of the work of building a championship organization on and off the pitch,” Ricketts said in an open letter to fans Friday.

The Red Stars were put up for sale in December by owner Arnim Whisler, who faced criticism from fans and players stemming from a misconduct and abuse scandal that rocked the league in 2021. Chicago coach Rory Dames, who was accused of verbal and emotional abuse, resigned and was subsequently banned from the league.

Commissioner Jessica Berman hailed the “new chapter” for the Red Stars.

“These talented and accomplished owners, successful in business, sports, and leaders in the Chicago community, are committed to investing the resources necessary to take the Chicago Red Stars to the next level and enable the NWSL to continue our collective growth," Berman said in a statement.

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AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer