Chicago Red Stars Issue Statement After Music Festival Abruptly Forces 'Unfair' Move

Jun 8, 2024; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Red Stars forward Penelope Hocking (55) looks on after scoring a goal against Bay FC in the second half at Wrigley Field.
Jun 8, 2024; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Red Stars forward Penelope Hocking (55) looks on after scoring a goal against Bay FC in the second half at Wrigley Field. / Melissa Tamez-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday, the Chicago Red Stars produced a milestone moment for North American women's sports. Their 2-1 loss to Bay FC Saturday drew 35,038 fans to Wrigley Field—the most for a single game in the NWSL's 12-year history.

How are the Red Stars being rewarded for their big moment? By being jettisoned from their home stadium in favor of a music festival.

Riot Fest, the annual Chicago rock festival, announced Wednesday it is moving to SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, Ill. for the 2024 edition of the event. The festival is scheduled to be held from Sept. 20-22—a timespan during which Chicago is scheduled to host the San Diego Wave.

Red Stars president Karen Leetzow released a statement Wednesday in which she pulled no punches.

"It is unfair and unfortunate to have our club put in this situation. shining a light on the vast discrepancies in the treatment of women's professional sports versus men's professional sports," Leetzow said in the statement. "We are committed to ensuring our players and fans have a first-rate experience on and off pitch, and we are working diligently to find a solution that will ensure our September 21 game is a success."

With a record of 5-6-1, Chicago would qualify for the playoffs if the season ended today.


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Patrick Andres

PATRICK ANDRES

Patrick Andres is a staff writer on the Breaking and Trending News team at Sports Illustrated. He joined SI in December 2022, having worked for The Blade, Athlon Sports, Fear the Sword and Diamond Digest. Andres has covered everything from zero-attendance Big Ten basketball to a seven-overtime college football game. He is a graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism with a double major in history .