A women's pro soccer game was bumped for a music festival; Red Stars looking for a place to play it

The Chicago Red Stars are looking for an alternative venue for their Sept. 21 home game against the San Diego Wave because of a just-announced music festival at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, Illinois.

Organizers of Riot Fest announced Wednesday that the festival was relocating from its longtime venue in Chicago's Douglass Park to SeatGeek Stadium — conflicting with the previously scheduled National Women's Soccer League match.

Red Stars President Karen Leetzow decried the decision on social media Wednesday.

“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. “We are committed to ensuring our players and fans have a first-rate experience on and off the pitch, and we are working diligently to find a solution that will ensure our September 21st game is a success."

The Red Stars drew an NWSL-record 35,038 fans to their most recent game, a special match Saturday against Bay FC at Chicago’s Wrigley Field. The average attendance for Red Stars home games at SeatGeek this season has been 8,317.

The team has played at SeatGeek since 2016 and their contract with the stadium is up after next year. The stadium has been criticized for its distance from downtown Chicago and lack of public transportation options.

Ray Hanania, a spokesperson for Bridgeview, said the village is working with the team to find a solution. He said the stadium is part of a larger fairgrounds area, which may make it possible for both events to coexist.

“Obviously the Red Stars are very important to us and always have been and we want to do whatever we can to ensure that they're satisfied,” he said.

Riot Fest organizers referred requests for comment to Bridgeview officials. Beck, Fall Out Boy, Sublime and St. Vincent are among the performers scheduled for the event, which is expected to draw some 50,000 people.

The Red Stars would likely incur costs in moving the match to another venue. Another possibility is to move the game to a different date, but that would complicate the league's broadcast schedule.


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