The Chicago Sky announces UChicago Medicine as official medical provider and sponsor

Dr. Benjamin, sports medicine specialist, Stephanie Dolson, Sky center, and Sharon O

Holly Benjamin, MD, sports medicine specialist, Stephanie Dolson, Sky center, and Sharon O'Keefe, UChicago Medicine president celebrate new partnership.

The WNBA's Chicago Sky and the University of Chicago Medicine have agreed to a multiyear partnership that names the academic health system as the official medical provider and a major sponsor of the team. In addition to preseason cardiac screenings for the team, UChicago Medicine will provide comprehensive player- and patient-centered services in orthopaedics and sports medicine, women’s health and primary care.

The two organizations made the announcement at Wintrust Arena on Friday, Feb. 2, with Mayor Rahm Emanuel on hand to officially mark the WNBA team's move from Rosemont to the new venue in Chicago's South Loop.

"On behalf of sports fans across the city, I want to welcome the Chicago Sky to their new home right here in the city of Chicago," Emanuel said. "This move by the Chicago Sky will mean jobs and economic opportunities on Chicago's South Side and in neighborhoods across the city. Additionally, the new partnership between the Sky and UChicago Medicine will benefit both the team and communities across Chicago.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks at the announcement of UChicago Medicine and Chicago Sky partnership event
Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks at the announcement of UChicago Medicine and Chicago Sky partnership event.
As part of the medical services agreement, UChicago Medicine will have an orthopedist onsite at every home game and on-call at away games. It also will have prominent placement on Chicago Sky players’ home and away jerseys. In addition, UChicago Medicine will receive in-arena and court signage, as well as a presence on the team's website, ChicagoSky.com.

“We are thrilled to now play in Chicago and work with a world-class facility like the University of Chicago Medicine,” said Adam Fox, CEO of the Chicago Sky. “This partnership guarantees that our athletes are provided with the finest resources, doctors and medical care. UChicago Medicine and the Chicago Sky hold the same values and an aligned vision. We are both deeply committed to women’s health, preventive care and serving the community, which makes this partnership a perfect fit. We look forward to a long and fulfilling relationship with UChicago Medicine.”

"This partnership is about two organizations that are deeply committed to connecting with the community they serve and choosing to work together to double their impact."

The relationship also will allow both organizations to work together to scale and track their impact across the city of Chicago, targeting key health issues such as childhood asthma, obesity and women’s health. UChicago Medicine has long made community impact part of its mission as an academic medical center based on the South Side, and the Chicago Sky and the Chicago Sky Foundation have pioneered several social impact programs and initiatives. Under the partnership, UChicago Medicine will utilize the Chicago Sky’s marketing platforms to provide public education about numerous community wellness topics, including nutrition and physical fitness.

“This partnership is about two organizations that are deeply committed to connecting with the community they serve and choosing to work together to double their impact,” said Sharon O’Keefe, President of the University of Chicago Medical Center. “It further facilitates a community-wide dialogue and helps us to reach even more people with the message that committing to wellness is not just a critical part of living a healthy life; it can also be fun.”

UChicago Medicine and Chicago Sky leaders at Wintrust Arena announcing partnership
UChicago Medicine and Chicago Sky leaders at Wintrust Arena announcing partnership.

The partnership is representative of UChicago Medicine’s history of community initiatives. For example:

  • In 2005, it launched the South Side Healthcare Collaborative, a broad network of health providers across the South Side who are committed to helping area residents connect to quality health care and find a medical home.
  • It also provides comprehensive medical care to South and West Side students through the Comer Children’s Hospital Pediatric Mobile Unit.
  • A hospital-based violence intervention program called Healing Hurt People-Chicago involves special intensive case management and access to trauma-focused counseling for pediatric patients injured by violence.
  • It partners with organizations and other health providers to address the health priority areas that were identified by the community: breast and colorectal cancer and diabetes for adults; obesity and asthma for children and adolescents; and violence prevention and sexually transmitted infections/HIV.

"This community partnership between two important corporate citizens of Chicago is exactly what we hoped for in building this new arena in the South Loop," said Lori T. Healey, CEO of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority. "Congratulations to UChicago Medicine and the Chicago Sky for working together as a catalyst to improve community health in our city."

The Chicago Sky kicks off its season in May. During the 2018 season, the Chicago Sky will play all 17 home games at Wintrust Arena as well as promotional events. The move by the Sky adds to the growing portfolio of events at the new, 10,387-seat Wintrust Arena. Its anchor tenant is the DePaul University men's and women's basketball teams, which are expected to host more than 20 games at the new arena.