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.