Last National Women's Soccer League season, Chicago Red Stars reached the final and saw record attendance figures and revenue from merchandise. Now they don't know exactly when this season will start but they aren't letting that stop them from getting ready and connecting with fans.
Last week one way they did this was through revealing their new jersey on Zoom and Youtube, showcasing the design that celebrates the city of Chicago. Called "the neighbourhood kit", it is the club's secondary jersey for the upcoming season. The design ties in with the city's flag and features the name of all 77 neighbourhoods, forming stripes on the front and the city's skyline on the back.
The team's defender, Casey Short told the Chicago Tribune: "I might be a little biased, but we’re always leading the way in the league with our jerseys.” It resonates with her on a personal level too: “It’s pretty cool to represent the city, especially as a Chicago native I take extra pride in wearing that jersey.”
Of the design, the club's owner Arnim Whisler said to the paper: "Chicago is its neighbourhoods,” Whisler said. “Each neighbourhood has an identity and they’re fiercely proud and they have an iconic imagery.”
Whisler also spoke to the Chicago Tribune about the impact of the pandemic on the club. “I don’t want to make this a hardship case, but we have no revenues. Zero,” he said, clarifying, “none on the horizon until the games start.”
The club is still fully staffed and has enough money to see them through May with their sponsors continuing to support the club. Whisler said: “Every dollar we bring in we’ll put to keeping our folks happy and healthy as long as we can.”
“And when we get more clarity on the season, we’ll continue to give more clarity on everything else. But we’ve been able to keep everyone together. … We’ve cut costs almost to nothing, only those things that are essential, and we’re just tightening the belt to make sure we’re weathering the storm.”
The NWSL currently has a ban on teams training until 15 May at the earliest and has postponed the season indefinitely. It was originally due to start in April.
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