Laura Ricketts and the Chicago Sky are in preliminary talks concerning the Cubs co-owner probably investing within the WNBA group


Chicago Cubs co-owner Laura Ricketts has had preliminary conversations with Sky principal proprietor Michael Alter about turning into a possible investor within the WNBA group, a number of sources advised the Tribune.

One supply stated Ricketts and her spouse, Brooke Skinner, are contemplating the chance as a result of it aligns with their philanthropic mission.

Since the Sky won the 2021 WNBA Finals, Alter has acknowledged he’s open to including buyers. That chance has progressed since his offseason feedback, in line with a supply near the matter.

“Brooke and I would love to support the Sky in any way we can,” Ricketts advised the Tribune. “We really respect, admire and appreciate all that Michael Alter has done for that team. They are one of a few (WNBA) teams that weren’t started in connection with an NBA team, and so the challenges that has had and the impact that has had on the team makes Michael’s investment all the more impressive and I really appreciate that.”

Alter didn’t affirm any conversations with Ricketts have occurred however did supply ideas on why she can be an excellent investor.

“Hypothetically, she is a very prominent owner of a sports team,” Alter advised the Tribune. “She has been a big fan of this league for a long time and has been active civically here in Chicago, which is very important to us. If she’s someone who wanted to be involved and had an interest, then we would certainly talk to her about it.”

One supply stated talks between the 2 house owners are “still at the preliminary stage” with particulars of Ricketts’ potential involvement nonetheless being mentioned.

The sides are already in enterprise after the Cubs’ Marquee Sports Network reached a multiyear deal with the Sky in May for the cable channel to broadcast a choose variety of Sky video games. A supply near the scenario stated Ricketts was closely concerned in pushing that deal by means of.

Since becoming a member of the WNBA in 2006, the Sky have had a fame for not offering the identical sources as different groups within the league. They don’t personal a non-public coaching facility, and practices are performed at Sachs Recreation Center in Deerfield — 30 miles from Wintrust Arena.

Sky coach and normal supervisor James Wade stated the group has added extra lodging for gamers yearly since he was employed in 2018. Over the offseason, the Sky added options comparable to post-practice meals, massages, custom-made ice tubs and expanded teaching and coaching staffs.

Wade stated the group bought a $50,000 AlterG anti-gravity treadmill at Sachs Recreation Center and now has its personal weight room on the observe facility.

“We just feel taken care of,” Sky level guard Courtney Vandersloot stated. “It will be easy issues like a therapeutic massage or meals after observe. That is so vital for us as athletes, and we by no means had entry to that earlier than. Other groups have kitchens at their observe services and it’s one thing you possibly can take as a right, however consuming is such an vital factor for what we do.

“We don’t have time to take care of ourselves and they heard that. They have done an amazing job and we have felt that big difference.”

Alter stated if the Sky have been so as to add buyers, it wouldn’t be due to an absence of economic sources however as a substitute to assist drive up the worth of the franchise.

“I’ve been working to build this league for 17 years,” Alter stated. “One of the things that I’ve been very focused on is demonstrating how the value of the franchises has increased over the years. One way to validate that is to go out and raise capital with third parties at a certain value.”

Sources advised the Tribune that talks are too early for Ricketts’ potential function with the Sky to be decided. However, the consensus is she would match the league mildew of a attainable investor.

Across the WNBA, the significance of possession representing the league’s stance on human rights is pronounced. In 2020, gamers campaigned in opposition to former Atlanta Dream proprietor and U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., after she spoke out in opposition to the Black Lives Matter motion. She later offered the group and misplaced the Senate race to Raphael Warnock, whom the players advocated for, carrying “Vote Warnock” T-shirts to their video games.

Ricketts and Skinner have been enormous advocates for LGBTQ+ rights in Chicago. The WNBA options members of that group, together with Sky guards Vandersloot and her spouse, Allie Quigley. Sky gamers who spoke to the Tribune reiterated their want to have members of possession align with the league’s social values.

“It’s really important,” ahead Azurá Stevens stated. “When you do business with good people, it starts at the top and trickles down to the bottom. It’s super important to have someone who is aligned with women deserving more because if they don’t feel that way, this isn’t the right room for them.”

Chicago Tribune reporter Meghan Montemurro contributed.

James Kay is a contract reporter for the Chicago Tribune.

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