The Chicago Sky are valued at $85 million, which places them second in the WNBA behind the Seattle Storm, Sportico reported Tuesday.
Earlier this year, the Storm were valued at $130 million, a record for a U.S. women’s sports team.
The Sky sold 10% of the team at the $85 million valuation to a group of eight investors, most of them women, among them Chicago Cubs co-owner Laura Ricketts. The group also includes Foot Locker CEO Mary Dillon and Smartly.io CEO Laura Desmond.
The $8.5 million investment will go toward player experience, marketing and staffing, with the construction of a new practice facility near the top of the to-do list, Sportico reported.
“It was important for us to go public with this because it’s a signal that capital is bullish about this [being] where people want to make significant investments for returns over time,” Sky operating chairman Nadia Rawlinson told Sportico. “That is a huge vote of confidence, not just for us, but for the league as a whole.”
Rawlinson, who joined the team in January as a co-owner, has invested additional money, as has John Rogers, an early minority owner of the Sky. Michael Alter will remain the team’s primary owner.
“Everyone has their place,” Rawlinson said. “This is a long-term investment and play that we’re making, and these people believe in the future we’re trying to get to. Everyone believes their contribution, not just financially but their own expertise and advice as well, will increase the overall value of the franchise.
“One of our goals is for this to be a place that’s not just for the Sky, but for the community writ large—not something that feels tucked away in this paragon of exceptionalism, but something that embodies that this team is in and of Chicago.”