Chicago Fire: Updates on Badge, Name, Personnel, Home Venue Logistics

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Today, on the 148th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire and the 22nd anniversary of the Chicago Fire Soccer Club’s founding, the team officially left the suburbs and returned to the city. We’ve all known this of course since back in the spring, but today was the City of Chicago and the Chicago Park District’s product rollout.

The Chicago Fire are back at Soldier Field, starting next year, but you already knew that for some time. So what did we learn today at Soldier Field this morning? Well, here are the main takeaways from the event which featured Chicago Fire Owner and Chairman Joe Mansueto, City of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, MLS Commissioner Don Garber and Chicago Park District Superintendent and CEO Michael Kelly.

You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers. First of all though, watch the little hype video in the tweet above. It’s really cool, as it takes you on a technology and pop culture time hop through the past two decades.

Are they only going to open the bottom tier of the stadium or the whole thing?

“If we get to 40,000 average attendance per game, it would mean $4 million for the tax-payers,” said Kelly.

“I anticipate 25,000 all the way up to sellouts pretty fast. I think it’s going to be pretty turnkey. We’re not going into this thinking we’re closing the top deck, we’re going in thinking we’re going to sell out.”

So, yes, they’re going to open the whole thing, not just the lower bowl. However, those attendance numbers cited are extremely aggressive to say the least.

The Fire were dead last in MLS attendance last year. Dead last. The team averaged 12,324 per game and drew 209,516 in total. Sure, you’ll get a bump in moving back to the city, but doubling and tripling? And now with the added challenge of the team’s marquee player retiring?

The new lease between the city and team, by the way, runs for 11 years.

What was the coolest, most unexpected thing that happened today?

Mansueto said the 68 supporters that have held season tickets since day one will get their season tickets for next year comped.

Is Bastian Schweinsteiger coming back?

No, he announced it an hour before the presser. Learn more at this link.

What about the name, colors and badge?

Mansueto says the front office is finishing up their research and we’ll know by November. “I love the name personally,” the new owner told reporters this morning. “It’s a uniquely Chicago name and it’s unique for Chicagoans.

When’s the first home game?

See the date and time below. Bring your parka!

Mansueto has given a strong public vote of confidence to both GM Nelson Rodriguez and Coach Veljko Paunovic, is there any chance one, or both, might not be back next year?

The new owner said he’ll take a “wholistic view of the club” and take stock of how every employee is performing at every position, but added “I think very highly of both of them, they too are frustrated that we didn’t make the playoffs.”

Mansueto also referred to both Pauno and Nelson as “tremendous assets” to the club.

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

You can follow Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com on Twitter here and his cat on Instagram at this link.

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