Riot Fest Pushes Red Stars out of SeatGeek for a Match


CHICAGO, IL–After setting an NWSL attendance record at Wrigley Field, the Chicago Red Stars are looking for a home for their September 21st match against San Diego Wave. The music festival Riot Fest is moving from the Douglass Park community in Chicago to SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview on September 21st which conflicts with the Red Stars’ home match against San Diego.

Red Stars president Karen Leetzow decried the move in a statement on social media.

“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 the pitch, and we are working diligently to find a solution that will ensure our September 21st game is a success.”

Riot Fest is moving to Bridgeview citing disagreements with the Chicago Park District. The festival had come across some backlash from residents in the community due to limited access to park grounds and the noise.

The Red Stars’ options for an alternative venue are limited as the Cubs are hosting the Washington Nationals at Wrigley on September 21st, though Soldier Field might be available as both the NFL’s Bears (at Indianapolis Colts) and MLS’s Fire (at CF Montreal) are on the road that weekend and no event is currently listed for that weekend. Northwestern University’s modular stadium for football while Ryan Field is being renovated may also be available as the football team is away to University of Washington that weekend. However, to be determined is where Northwestern’s men’s and women’s soccer teams will play and when. Northwestern’s temporary football stadium is on the site of where the soccer fields were.

This may hasten the Red Stars’ hunt for a new home, preferable within Chicago city limits, as the new ownership of the club has cited SeatGeek Stadium’s location as a pain point when it comes to drawing fans. Prior to their match at Wrigley Field, the Red Stars had been averaging just 3,864 fans a match in Bridgeview which was bottom of the league by more than 2,000 fans per match behind second-from-bottom North Carolina Courage (5,907 at the time) and almost 1,000 below their 2023 average attendance (4,848) which was also bottom of the league. The match at Wrigley Field, which set an NWSL attendance record for a standalone match at 35,038, boosted the Red Stars average attendance to 8,317 and sixth in average attendance in the 14-team league. The Red Stars’ lease with Bridgeview runs through the end of the 2025 season.

Chicago Fire FC played in Bridgeview from 2006 to 2019 before moving to Soldier Field for the 2020 season to reconnect with fans in the city, but continue to play matches at SeatGeek Stadium (neé Toyota Park) for US Open Cup and Leagues Cup matches as well as matches that conflict with the Chicago Bears schedule as two matches will this season.


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