by DAVE MARTINEZ
Is another NASL heritage club on the verge of resurrection? It certainly looks that way.
The Chicago Sting have long been rumored for a potential revival. Several sources have confirmed the reports to EoS, pulling the curtain back on an operation which aims to find their way to the NASL playing field by 2017.
Club 9 Sports is the organization that is spearheading the Sting’s revival. Club 9 describes themselves as a business that “advises, operates, and invests in sports and media opportunities” and runs as a joint venture between Tobacco Road Capitalists, LLC , a self-described “sports management and sports media advisory company” and Prometheus Capital Partners, LLC, a middle market merchant bank. Jon L. Pritchett, the former CEO of AstroTurf USA, John Prutch, the founder of MERCAP in Chicago and three-time NBA executive of the year Carl Scheer are the driving forces behind the venture capitalist group.
Helping to lead the Sting’s resurrection effort is a name that is very familiar to the Chicago soccer scene — Peter Wilt. Wilt currently serves as the President of Indy Eleven. Much as he did with Indy prior to their arrival in NASL, he has taken on an unpaid consulting role with Club 9 Sports in their efforts to rebuild the Sting, helping in their search for further investors to the potential franchise group.
Wilt is an invaluable piece to the Sting’s revival. Not only does he have experience in the market (he was the Chicago Fire’s first ever President and general manager), he has also been a part of several startup organizations in and around the area from the Chicago Red Stars in the former WPS, the MISL’s Chicago Riot and the MASL’s Milwaukee Wave.
Unlike the Chicago Fire, who call Bridgeview home, the Chicago Sting brain trust hopes to secure a home within the Chicago city limits. That desire has them sizing up the possibility of playing within Chicago’s Soldier Field, which once housed the original Sting and the aforementioned Fire as well. While the 62k seat stadium is not an ideal fit for an NASL side, it does meet their criteria to remain within the borders of Metropolitan Chicago while they seek better accommodations some time down the road.
Recent chatter regarding a potential 2016 NASL debut are unrealistic. However, the group hopes to be up and running by 2017, and aim to secure their full roster of investors by early next year. Wilt’s future role with the organization is up in the air, but both an ownership or upper level management role may be in play.
The Sting name holds a rich history in the original NASL, securing two Soccer Bowl Championships in their decade of operation, making the playoffs in seven of those ten campaigns. If included, they would join fellow heritage clubs New York Cosmos, Fort Lauderdale Strikers and Tampa Bay Rowdies in the modern NASL revival.