Red Stars break NWSL attendance record with a packed Wrigley Field

35,038 fans turned up to Wrigley Field to make NWSL history

Jun 8, 2024; Chicago, Illinois, USA; General view during the first half between Bay FC and the Chicago Red Stars at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports
The Red Stars played a special game at Wrigley Field. (Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports)

Wrigley Field was the site of NWSL history on Saturday, via a match between the Chicago Red Stars and Bay F.C.

The Red Stars' home match broke the NWSL single-game attendance record with 35,038 fans at the 110-year-old stadium, the team announced in the second half. The previous record was 34,130, held by the Seattle Reign for the final match of Megan Rapinoe's career.

While Wrigley Field typically has a capacity of 41,649, the adjustments needed to turn it into a soccer field lowered that number by a few thousand. Still, the stadium was fairly packed even as rain poured on the Chicago fans.

Unfortunately, that record crowd didn't get to enjoy a win, as Bay F.C. beat the Red Stars 2-1 via goals from Kiki Pickett and Joelle Anderson. Penelope Hocking at least got Chicago on the board in stoppage time.

The match delivered on the little things. Maybelle Blair, a pitcher on the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League's Peoria Redwings, delivered the match ball. One person also noticed that whoever maintains Wrigley Field's iconic flags had replaced the MLB teams with the NWSL standings.

In the clubhouse, Red Stars star Mallory Pugh was surprised with flowers in her locker from her husband, Chicago Cubs star Dansby Swanson.

Outfitting Wrigley Field for soccer was no small undertaking. A timelapse shows a sizable grounds crew covering much of the infield and foul territory dirt with turf the previous day:

The Red Stars and Cubs have a connection via their ownership, as Red Stars owner Laura Ricketts is a member of the Ricketts family that has controlled the Cubs since 2009.