Chicago Fire GM Nelson Rodriguez on Reported Move, Potential Rebrand

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Ahead of his roundtable with media this afternoon, Chicago Fire President and general manager Nelson Rodriguez issued a statement on the bombshell report that came out today.

The Des Plaines Valley News reported that the soccer club has agreed to pay the village of Bridgeview $60.5 million to break their lease at SeatGeek Stadium. Before the media roundtable began, Rodriguez issued the following statement:

“We have been negotiating with Mayor (Steve) Landek and the Village of Bridgeview for some time on an amended stadium lease, but we have not reached a final agreement, and until we do, I’m not able to comment further.”

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The stadium situation was of course topic one at the round table, and Rodriguez faced numerous questions pertaining to it. He said he had not read the article, and at one point, a reporter stood up and showed him the article on his laptop. Yes, this really happened, with Rodriguez saying that everything he saw in the article was factual and correct.

However, he said cannot confirm or deny anything in the “Memo of Understanding” between the team and the village, which was unanimously approved by the board yesterday.

He also said that he’s unaware of any signed agreement to break the lease and that he’s not involved in any discussions with the village of Bridgeview.  In other words, the move is happening, and the wheels are in motion now. However, it is far from fully signed, sealed and delivered, and until it is, Nelson Rodriguez won’t be speaking much about it.

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Moving on, to the other major topic of the round table session, the potential rebrand. Rodriguez revealed that the Fire have been working with Major League Soccer and held focus groups about refreshing their brand identity.

The process needs to be accelerated, Nelson Rodriguez said, and brought to a conclusion. No decision has been made in terms of badge/logo or team colors change.

What about a name change? “haven’t taken anything off the table,” the Fire GM responded.

Nelson Rodriguez did add though that something has to change with the badge, at some point, in order to differentiate the from the night time soap opera television show and your standard fire department.

He also said that the club is behind the NBC tv show in relevance and that the team crest must find a better way to convey that they are in fact a sports franchise.

We also asked if the Chicago Fire are considering adding FC to their name or changing from SC to FC. The General Manager said that no decision has been made on that.

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We’ll have more later, with the full Nelson Rodriguez quotes, once the transcript has been made available.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No,  I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, also contributes to Chicago NowFollow him on Twitter and Instagram. The content of his cat’s Instagram account is unquestionably superior to his.

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