The Chicago Red Stars released the club’s new, 2020 “Neighborhood Kit” tonight in a virtual release party with fans on Zoom.
It’s white, with the Chicago flag stretched across the front. The flag’s blue stripes have the names of Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods embedded inside. Owner Arnim Whisler told fans the club was close to landing a sponsor on the front of the shirt, but the COVID-19 shutdown put that on hold. The shirt may have a front sponsor in the future, he said.
Like last year’s wildly popular “Elevated Kit,” the new “Neighborhood Kit” was designed in house by Red Stars staff. The idea began with a sketch by former Red Stars employee Justyne Freud, who has since moved on to a job with the Chicago Fire. Whisler said custom designs like this cost twice to produce as stock Nike designs.
“Why doesn’t everyone do it? I’m sure margins are the issue. But, we’d also rather make less margin, keep the price lower, and get more brand impressions in the market. We want this thing worn,” Whisler said.
The kit’s launch comes at a time when the Red Stars have no other source of revenue. Whisler had pledged to keep paying players and staff as long as he can, but the club is hoping fans buy this new shirt in big numbers, if they’re in a position to spend money right now.
“This year especially, we need the revenue,” Whisler said. “This is our source of revenue until games kick back in, or the next sponsor says I’m really gonna take a flier on this league even though you’re not playing, which is hard for corporate America to do right now.”
This replaces the club’s old white jersey. The “Elevated Kit” home shirt is around for another season.
“I think our home and our away jerseys are now by far the coolest jerseys of any sports team here,” Red Stars defender Sarah Gorden said.
The new flag shirt is available for purchase now.