New Team President Julian Posada Introduced

New Fire team President Julian Posada addressed the media via conference call this morning and shed some light on his vision for the franchise, how he became involved as a candidate for the position, and how he plans to increase the Fire's visibility in a crowded Chicago sports landscape. 

  • When asked if his emphasis will be on the hispanic community given his background, Posada responded by pointing out that this is only one of the markets that follow soccer and his involvement with spanish speaking outlets was more chance than anything else.  He maintained that marketing to the hispanic fan base is only one of the constituencies that he will focus on. 
  • He plans on engaging not only corporate entities as possible marketing partners but he also wants to stay actively involved in the community through youth soccer and will look at the current marketing plans for ways to continue to improve. 
  • In response to questions regarding increasing the Fire's visibility in the market place and the attitude of the general media towards soccer Posada offered, "We need to do a better job of earning some of that (attention).  We have to win first of all - that's really important".

 

  • Posada has not been previously involved in sports marketing or professional sports during his career but feels that his successes with other endeavors will translate to his current position.  "I had no right in managing a newspaper but I did a pretty good job of that.  As a serial entrepenuer you ask yourself basic questions and find you can rally small groups of people to do great things.  The keys are providing a good experience and engaging your audience", said Posada.
  • He plans on discussing issues with Section 8 and Fire fans.  "You have to ask, what do fans want and deliver it."  Within reason.
  • He began discussions about the position after meeting Javier Leon through a current Fire employee.  He initially offered several candidates and search firms and the conservations gradually gravitated toward his possible interest in the position.  Initial discussions about the market and how to address it evolved into meetings with Andrew Hauptman. 
  • He is a huge soccer fan and soccer player but he is currently trying to catch up with MLS' unique structure which makes things more challenging than most leagues.  He's also recovering from an ACL injury suffered while playing soccer.
  • His interest was sparked after attending the recent Red Bulls-Fire match and began thinking of ways to transfer that atmosphere to every match. 
  • Posada feels that MLS teams are very similar due to salary cap restraints so coaching is a very important factor in determining success.  The comment was not necessarily based on the Fire's current position but more of a general observation. 
  • In terms of untapped or underutilized areas of basic marketing Posada and the Fire feel that there is really no reason why the team should not have an english language radio broadcast.  "It's one of the objectives for 2011.  There is a lot of potential there."

Posada seems to be very enthusiastic and optimistic about the Fire and soccer's future in the local market.  He's hoping to adapt the strategies that have made him succesful to soccer, although he is admittedly not your typical sports executive.  Fresh ideas with a new perspective geared toward identifying and satisfying the customer base is something the Fire have improved on recently.  As someone who is familiar and quite obviously entusiastic about the sport, Posada seems to be another step in the right direction. 

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  • I'm just not sure about this guy.

  • In reply to Adam25:

    First impression is good but ultimately the most important thing is the product on the field.

    FC Dallas just hired a new team president who was involved with Soccer United Marketing (MLS' marketing arm). The Fire have gone in another direction with a local guy involved in local marketing.

  • In reply to cesba:

    San Jose Earthquakes do a fantastic job when it comes down to marketing their team by hearing them on the radio and getting notice in commercials (especially in Oakland A's games they get mentioned on Comcast Sports Net Bay Area). San Jose and Toronto FC are the best when it comes to marketing their franchises.

  • In reply to cesba:

    Well said, I'd prefer someone with a professional football (soccer) background, but money is the lifeline of soccer. At least he has played soccer and understands the game. If he is bright enough, he can delegate responsibilities to others in areas where he is deficient.
    Liked his answer about appealing to the hispanic population, that the team has to market itself to a variety of populations. Also, making an attempt to find an english speaking radio stations to broadcast games, although most Fire games have ben on TV. if you have cable or dish. Hard to determine what kind of following there would be for radio.
    Seemingly has made a positive first impression.

  • In reply to cesba:

    When peter Wilt was GM the Fire were always loaded. We got teenagers like DaMarcus and Mapp for the future and had very solid MLS players at every position. In recent years we have drafted poorly or gotten nothing in return for young players like Barrett, Jaqua,or Mapp,and let Rolfe go instead of offering good money before his final year to free agency. Andy williams is still in the league and starting. There's 5 decent players with nothing in return except cap relief or a low draft pick. This team has been in decline for a while. Klopas has made some efforts to build a squad with Pappa being a good start but this is a weak squad. Banner, Baggio, Carr, Umanzor and a few others would never have gotten off the Bench in earlier Fire teams. Next season will tell the tale on this management group, and it's not about marketing.

  • In reply to Celt:

    I'd have to disagree with the drafting poorly comment (see Nyarko, Johnson, Husidic). Chad Barrett was traded for Brian McBride.....I don't think anyone would pass on that trade. Mapp was traded to create space for the Castillo/Ljungberg deals. I can understand the consternation over the loss of Chris Rolfe but he was a player that wanted to try Europe. He's also hurt again this year at Aalborg. IMO, Klopas has done a decent job of piecing together a pretty good MLS roster although the team has not played well this year.

    Here's a previous post chronicling the Klopas era....
    http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-fire-confidential/2010/05/post-2.html

  • In reply to cesba:

    Would agree with Nyarko and would add Soumare. Johnson was a bit of luck left until the 4th round and Gen addidas. They overpaid for Mcbride who would play nowhere else and he was very much short term given his age. I think Mapp was given away for cap space and I think he had more value than that. It seems we have youth going out and age or short term-Fred, mcBride-coming in. I notice other teams have younger, exciting players or very good foreigners. I think if Rolfe was offered good money before his final year we could have kept him, but of course that is speculation. I think Klopas is decent and needs another year, but I notice that FCD or RSL have retooled within a few seasons, see redbulls as well, and next year will tell us much about this management team. I know marketing is important but from a fan perspective it all begins on the field, not the cash flow.

  • In reply to Celt:

    Yep...we definitely agree that next season is key.

  • In reply to Celt:

    Sam chimes in with some quotes from Ristic....

    http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/second-time-charm-new-fire-mf-ristic

  • In reply to Celt:

    Soumare draft pick was under the Guppy/Sarachan regime. McBride was a big upgrade from a marginal MLS player in Chad Barrett and TFC got the Fire's 1st round pick which they selected goalkeeper Stefan Frei. The Fire won that deal. Rolfe is a hell of a player but his health was a major concern (like John Thorrington). Don't be surprised that Frank Klopas will the busiest technical directors in the MLS after the 2010 season. They traded Mapp away because he wasn't producing like he was in 2006. Don't forget, he drafted players like Johnson, Kinney, Watson-Siriboe and Bone can be the cornerstones for that franchise for years to come. Next year determines if the Fire still be an elite team.

  • In reply to longoria3:

    the thrust of my initial post was we had lost younger players and replaced them with older,short term ones. McBride is gone after this year, and Barrett is a starter in MLS. Mapp will start for years to come and they didn't get anything for him except cap space and a low pick. Frei and Barrett is way too much for 2 seasons of McBride, one of which has him scoring very few goals. there was a time when the Fire had very solid MLS starters and teenagers like Mapp and Beasley, but those days are gone. Bone cannot get a kick, Baggio is too slow, Siroboe may or may not make it but he too cannot get a game and that is with the very experienced CJ to keep an eye on him. I cannot see how he improves by not playing and will be better without CJ next year to organize and tutor him. But yes, all doubts will be settled next season. When Nagamura or Ballouchy or even a Cronin are on the market I would like to see the Fire make a move. Our depth and quality have been declining for some years now. I was always confident when Wilt was Gm as we were always an elite team. This is now in the past. Again, if next year doesn't see an RSL type retool with quality, time to clear house. I say this as someone who likes Klopas and many of his moves.

  • In reply to Celt:

    I can see your point but I can't think of anyone who didn't love the McBride deal when it was made.

  • In reply to Celt:

    I wasn't losing sleep when Chad Barrett was traded. Since 2008, McBride's numbers vs. Barrett's numbers:

    McBride Barrett
    2008 11/10 5G 2A 16/16 5G 3A
    2009 22/22 7G 2A 29/27 5G 3A
    2010 17/14 4G 2A 19/14 6G 1A
    Total 50/46 16G 6A 64/57 16G 5A

    Goals and assist are almost the same but McBride missed some time with some injuries but McBride has been more of an impact during his tenure with the Fire than Barrett. Barrett is a perfect player that racks up goals on a bad team. Baggio is more of a center mid than outside and Baggio did a fantastic job playing Pause's spot. Bone has never gotten a fair chance to see if he is quality player, that has to be determined down the road as well as Watson-Siriboe and Pineda. Two rookies from 2010 Kinney and Johnson made an immediate impact. To an extent the Collins John signing is a bust and Krol is a serviceable MLS player. Julio Martinez was completely a wash and was I never a big fan of Deris Umanzor in the first place. I have faith in Klopas in reshaping this team and making the Fire as one of the elite teams in the MLS.

  • In reply to Celt:

    Sure it would be good to give youth a chance but not at the sake of your season. If we are officially out of the playoffs then sure, give Watson and Bone some serious minutes. But why would we play them now when we have Conde and Brown available. Frei and Barrett is not too much for McBride. The best thing you can say about Barrett is that he works hard. His touch is comparable to Carr. His speed is comparable to CJ. His finishing is comparable to Nyarko. Which means he can trap the ball further than I can kick it, runs the 40 in 6.5 and would hit the frame 3 times out of 10 shots.

    Your argument is very strange because you're saying you want these young guys to play but they have better players in front of them. Doesn't make any sense.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Read my post. I never said to play the kids. I responded to the claim that they represented a good draft, but cannot get a kick. maybe they are good, but how would we know? As far as McBride trade, McBride is done, has the same points as Barrett over the last 2 seasons, and Barett is improving and will be in MLS for another decade.
    That,s not counting Frei. My point was that youth went out and age came in. This means we gambled to win it now. this is a gamble we have los and now have neither a deep team or silverware.

  • In reply to Celt:

    So you're saying you would rather have Chad Barrett than Brian McBride? Any team in MLS would have made that trade. It might be the best move Klopas has made. A mediocre and best player for a US legend. The way our team was set up, it was now or never. Blanco, CJ, Conde wanting to leave. We had to make that move and we basically got McBride for nothing. Barrett is improving at a snails pace. He will never be a star player in this league and will never score 10 goals in a season.

  • In reply to Celt:

    Comcast SportsNite reported on something called the "Business of Sports Luncheon" which was held yesterday and featured a panel of executives from all the "major sports" according to the anchor.

    In attendance were the Cubs, Sox, Blackhawks, Bears, and Northwestern. John McDonough, Tom Ricketts, Crane Kenney, Brooks Boyer, and the genius of Ted Phillips were all on display. I couldn't tell from the report if the Bulls or Fire had anyone present.

  • In reply to cesba:

    Brooks Boyer worked for the Chicago Bulls from 1998-2003. What a shock, whoever orchestrated the "Business of Sports Luncheon" did not invite anybody from the Chicago Fire. At least have the decency to have Andrew Hauptman involve with the rest of the owners to introduce himself.

  • In reply to longoria3:

    Not sure how the panels were conceived or whether or not the Fire was invited but I'd hope that Posada speaks to McDonough some time soon.

    I'd also hope that he never listen to Ted Phillips or Crane Kenney.

  • In reply to cesba:

    John McDonough is the perfect man to talk to when it comes down to marketing especially he worked for the Chicago Sting back in the 80's. Avoid Ted Phillips and Crane Kenney as far as possible. The Fire had a team president that worked for the Chicago Bears. That went well (sarcasm). The Chicago Bears are the most arrogant franchise in Chicago sports right now. Kudos to Andrew Hauptman for hiring a man that has a background that can relate to the Hispanic audience. Welcome the Chicago Fire Mr. Posada.

  • In reply to cesba:

    I would love to see the Chicago Fire play an international friendly at Wrigley Field/US Cellular Field/Soldier Field (example Fire v Club America or Bayern Munich vs Chicago Fire).

  • In reply to Celt:

    so what happen to frank klopas?

  • In reply to tymbark75:

    He cut his hair and now goes by the name, Julian Posada.

  • In reply to tymbark75:

    in terms of what?

    The team President handles the daily functions and operations of the business side.

    Klopas' role as the team's Technical Director (general manager in non-soccer terms) handles the on-field aspects. That hasn't changed.

    Posada won't be drafting players, making trades, and signing new additions.

  • In reply to Adam25:

    "We need to do a better job of earning some of that (attention). We have to win first of all - that's really important".

    i hope this means not playing for draws! play to win, and if the draws happen, thats fine. if you play for draws, wins will rarely accidentally happen

    come on CDLC, let the team loose and start pushing the ball forward

  • In reply to Adam25:

    In sports there's no better marketing ploy than actually winning.

  • In reply to Adam25:

    I would like to see the fire get some more big USA players. With McBride leaving, they won't have much in the way of us stars or prospects. Cooper and Braun would both be good replacements in all aspects for mcbride, but neither would come cheap. And then again the fire did splash on Castillo. Cooper is having a hard time finding playing time in the second divisions of England and Germany, so there is a real possibility he could return to MLS. The fire could make him a low paid dp.

  • In reply to Adam25:

    yep,,,,winning solves alot of things, but i hate the drums, could be worse, horns.

  • In reply to Adam25:

    When the Fire were in contention every year, they had very little media attention. If you want your team to be noticed, you have to hire a marketing person that will expand the team popularity (via television, radio and etc). Look at John McDonough with the Blackhawks, not only do the Hawks put out a winning product with scouting, coaching and key free agents, McDonough found different solutions to increase Hawks coverage by hearing them on the Sports section. Posada is the perfect man to reach out to the demographic of soccer fans (Hispanic, Polish and so on) if they want their team to have more recognition. First step is to find a flagship station for the English speaking listeners and he can look elsewhere to put a better Spanish flagship station (1200 AM frequency is not the greatest). My point of view is that he can't be any worse than Greeley while he served as team president for a couple of years before his resignation.

    Since Posada played soccer, will he participate in next years Media vs. front office game? =)

  • In reply to longoria3:

    He mentioned the media game. He's all in for 2011. I think I've seen that somewhere before.

  • In reply to longoria3:

    I'm reposting my note from the previous column. Basically, winning is great but you have to make money even when you're losing. It's going to be tough because the Chicago media typically ranges from smugly apathetic to antagonistic when it comes to soccer.
    --------------------------------
    From the "take lemons and make lemonade" school of thought, this is an opportunity for the team to strengthen their base. For MLS to survive, the teams must be able to successful financially even they have poor seasons on the field. Next year, more teams will miss the playoffs than will make them. Obviously, a winning team will be a bigger draw. But all teams, including our beloved Fire, must be able to attract crowds when playing poorly. Some of that will be marketing the visitors (Donovan, Marquez, ...), some of it is marketing the gameday experience (a la Wrigley Field). But, there also has to be the cultivation of attending games because that's what you do. The Lions went 0-16 and were still drawing crowds that would be considered good even for an exhibition game featuring a visiting European or Mexican powerhouse. I'm not a season ticket holder but it sounds like the response to the 2011 plans has been positive. I would also like to beat my old horse about English language radio as a way to nurture a growing fan base.

    Wait 'til next year!

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