Some Good News and Some Not So Good News - Updated

Julian Posada attended Section 8 Chicago's monthly board meeting tonight (along with Director of Soccer & Team Development Paul Cadwell and Vice President Emigdio Gamboa) and addressed a variety of issues while taking questions from the attendees.  I'll get right to the highlights:

  • The Fire will finally have a team store at Toyota Park.  The store is currently under construction and will include 2000 square feet of retail space.  The opening date for the store hasn't been set yet. 
  • Posada is still working on a jersey sponsor and trying to find the "right sponsor".  The organization is more concerned with finding the right sponsor than just making a transaction.  "There's a lot of pressure to get that done."
  • If no jersey sponsor is found before the opener the team will start the season with "Fire" on the home jerseys and no wording on the white away jerseys.
  • The team is still working on improving parking, security, and game day services across the board.
  • There should be an announcement shortly regarding live web streaming of the Carolina Cup Challenges matches.
  • He is looking at different options for replacing the departed Becky Carroll in the communications department since "getting more information out is critical".  The ideal person would have both marketing and communications skills. 
  • Another fan Q&A session with Andrew Hauptman (similar to last season's event) will take place at a day and time to be determined.
  • The Fire is trying to nail down a location for the upcoming US Open Cup match against the Colorado Rapids.  They have looked at Bradley, North Central, Depaul, UIC, Notre Dame but nothing has been decided yet.  They are trying to stay as close to Chicago as possible.
  • A television broadcast schedule will be released in the next 48 hours.  The Fire is apparently looking to change the broadcast team.  It sounded like there will be fewer games on Comcast SportsNet this season. The new broadcast team will feature a local flair and knowledge of soccer. 
  • There will be no english or spanish language radio broadcasts this season.  There is no movement on the english radio front and they have tabled the topic for now.  According to Posada the "sponsorship interest doesn't exist" for radio and they do not have the budget to buy air time on local radio in the manner that the Blackhawks did several years ago. 
  • The team issued an RFP (request for proposals) to local stations in hopes of finding a radio outlet but none of the options were adequate. 
  • The Fire hope to add a third jersey in 2012 and Andrew Hauptman has been involved with Adidas on the design.  Posada intimated that most people will be very happy with the third jersey.
  • Adidas is experiencing factory delays and shipping problems with the 2011 kits which explains why attempting to place an order through MLSgear.com includes ridiculously long lead times. 
  • The team is involved in negotiations with Manchester United and numerous other clubs from the Premier League, La Liga, and Serie A but nothing has been decided.  Posada cited the exorbitant asking price of these clubs, particularly the BPL, as a stumbling block in completing a deal for summer friendlies. 
  • The team is very close to setting an all time high for season ticket sales.  The current number is somewhere over 4,000.
  • The Reserve League schedule should be announced within the next 48 hours.
  • The Fire's U-18 Academy team will be playing a match against Mexico's U-17 National Team on March 15 at Toyota Park.  Tickets will be $5.
  • Posada cited his goals include creating an environment for winning trophies while selling more tickets with an aggressive revenue generating program.  His ultimate goal for the team was to get to a point of profitability. 
  • The team will unveil new marketing strategies within the city in order to become more visible. 

Section 8 Chicago also has several interesting and innovative plans in motion regarding road trips, fund raising, tifo displays, podcasts, and a new game day fanzine.  

  

UPDATE

The Fire have clarified two points discussed during the meeting:

1- The broadcast schedule and reserve league schedule haven't been totally finalized and should be announced some time next week rather than in the next 48 Hours.

2- The 2012 kits will not include a third jersey, rather the home AND road jerseys could be re-designed altogether. (UPDATED 3/4) 

Comments

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  • I would love to have that stripe back on the away jersey.

    So this organization has never reached over 4,000 season ticket sales?
    whoa, that's a big shocker there.

  • In reply to WBO5ElGuapo:

    Putting the stripe back on the away jersey was also discussed.

    I was also a bit surprised by that modest number but I'm still unclear whether or not they're referring to total STH's or new STH's.

  • In reply to cesba:

    i would assume it is new season ticket holders.

  • In reply to firefan1998:

    I was under the impression that it was 4000 total, with *new* STH's somewhere in the 1000 range. I could be totally off there, though.

  • In reply to WBO5ElGuapo:

    Im very glad it was brought up. Our uniform has a unique tie into the city of Chicago itself. We just need to figure out a way for the masses to realize it.

  • In reply to WBO5ElGuapo:

    I like the sound of the third jersey and the store from which to buy it. TV will be good.

    As for the Cup, some of those fields have really negligible seating, like DePaul... Is there really that little interest in that game?

  • In reply to cweimers:

    I think they realize that US Open Cup first round games will only draw between 2 and 4K so they're looking for a venue that suits that.

  • In reply to WBO5ElGuapo:

    So exactly what was accomplished during the off season?
    His comments on radio tell me it is clearly not a priority.
    Factory delays might a euphemism for we missed our deadlines because we were waiting on a sponsor deal and none were forthcoming.
    Sounds like a lot of smoke and mirrors to me...or a team that is in financial trouble and is trying to get the books back in order...
    Instead of paying exorbitant sums to see a big name european "b" team, use that money and address just one of the issues above. Then Voila, something gets done, and the off season is not a wash.

  • In reply to DerSting:

    Team Store.

  • In reply to cesba:

    Under construction without set completion date to sell jerseys that are not available to be sold and without sponsors. Accomplished means completed.

    So other than the March 15th game with the U18s and the Mexican U17 team, what has been accomplished this off season?

  • In reply to cesba:

    "The Fire hope to add a third jersey in 2012 and Andrew Hauptman has been involved with Adidas on the design. Posada intimated that most people will be very happy with the third jersey."

    I guess I have been waiting since after the 2005 season when I was a poor senior engineering student at U of I that couldn't afford the BA flag shirt from Puma, so what's another year, I guess. Though some may argue I wouldn't have been able to fit into a Puma shirt as they tend to run in Euro-medium/extra-small sizes, I still would've rock it, beer gut and all.

    Now by "most people", he was talking about people like me, right Guille? Or is he renewing that partnership with Monarcas Morelia to get money to produce the third jersey which would ultimately be the hideously regrettable mustard yellow shirt with both the Fire and Morelia shields on it? I hope it's the former case and not the latter...

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    I'm assuming he meant the elements of the flag jersey will be incorporated.

  • In reply to cesba:

    I have a bad feeling about this, GR, a BAD feeling...

  • In reply to cesba:

    Sadly I couldn't make it to the meeting but my confidence just doesn't sit well with Posada. The main goal is to be profitable, seems to me the more they hold back the less exciting the team will get. Was there no talk of building out around TP to attract more people to come (Stores, water park, movie theater, these things were mention once)?

  • In reply to Adam25:

    I'm also not a fan of Posada. He has time to turn my opinion around, but he's on the clock.

    In regards to TP, I'd like to see the FIRE FO reach out to secure the IHSA Championships for both boys and girls as well as the Big Ten championship for men and women. Toyota Park should be the mecca for all things soccer in the upper Midwest.

    I have to imagine opening TP is expensive for some for the smaller profile events, but for soccer championships (HS and college, maybe working something out should be a priority for the club and the city of Bridgeview . . . it is a soccer stadium after all and a good way for the FIRE to reach out to the existing soccer community (and have them shop in the team store).

    Come on Posada, put the X-Box controller down and get it done.

  • In reply to fireman451:

    I'm with you 451. I've long advocated the RJ Reynolds strategy of "Get 'em hooked when they're young". High School kids should be a great market for MLS. They've been exposed to a soccer their whole lives. They're used to the USMNT being successful, they've not yet developed strong affiliations for sports or teams, they have disposable income and the time to go to sporting events, they're looking for something to do and be a part of. If they're still playing soccer in H.S. they've moved past the "mom made me join the team" mode and are ready to be a hard-core fan.

  • In reply to fireman451:

    According to Posada no english or spanish radio (I assume no games on 1200 AM) due to so called "sponsorship interest doesn't exist" for radio. IMO, those are excuses for not having any radio outlets coming from a big market. How come stations can buy airtime for DePaul and NIU athletics? San Jose (small market) have the budget for airtime on along with Houston, Seattle, Los Angeles, Toronto, New York, DC and Philadelphia except for Chicago. That is sad!!!

  • In reply to fireman451:

    If they're looking at venues as small as UIC for the US Open Cup, they should probably also be looking at places like the University of Chicago and various area high school stadiums. The Fire should also maybe consider a venue with a little US Open Cup history: Jorndt Field in Winnemac Park, site Chicago Schwaben SC's victory in the first leg of the 1956 US Open Cup final (though, unfortunately, they went on to lose the home-and-away series on aggregate to the Harmarville Hurricanes). Not sure of its capacity, but it's got bigger stands than UIC, and a track around the field which could translate into plenty of standing room.

  • In reply to Adam25:

    Guillermo
    Thank you, for *Some Good News And Some Not So Good News*
    I really appreciate your time and efforts in keeping us
    Chicago Fire Fans informed and entertained.

    You are correct "At this Time I am not a Julian Posada Fan."
    If Fire Fans had the chance to Vote For Chicago Fire President
    Posada would not get many votes from the Soccer Community.
    Fireman451 has some Great Suggestions of promoting Soccer at
    Toyota Park, it is surprising the Fire Front Office doesn't think about these things.
    There is an Old Saying "Where there is Smoke There is Fire."
    " With Posada There Is A lot Of Smoke No Fire."
    I am the president of a very reputable Custom Home Building Co.
    and deal with Schedules all the time. If I were building the
    Chicago Fire Store at Toyota Park I could tell you when it would be completed and open to the Public.
    I agree with Fireman451 Come on Posada get it done, or move over
    and have someone more capable take over.

  • In reply to TigerJMS:

    A contractor not being able to provide an end date, especially with revenue at stake, is not a good thing in the construction industry.

  • In reply to cesba:

    I couldn't agree with you more Guillermo.
    "I am accountable to meet my schedules otherwise I
    stand alone in the Hall of Blame."

  • In reply to cesba:

    Sam's write up on the Q&A.....

    http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/fire-still-searching-2011-jersey-sponsor

  • In reply to cesba:

    Interesting breakdown......

    http://theallocationorder.com/2011/chicago-fire-taking-inventory-of-2010s-formations/

  • In reply to Adam25:

    Adam,
    The developmemt around Toyota Park is something I've been looking into for almost a year. The long story short version is that once the economy went into the crapper the hotels and entertainment complexes that showed interest shelved or totally scrapped their plans.
    Two hotels that were originally planned seem to be on permanent hold. The developer with the water park idea scrapped it and the theatre that was looking at the space underwent changes and stopped building.
    There's not much the organization can do on that end except wait until the economic reality for such the development is feasible again.

  • In reply to cesba:

    Lets just hope the underpass gets started.

  • Can't take a night off of work so I do what I can...

  • In reply to DerSting:

    You could have sent someone, or submitted the questions to the team and/or Section 8 Chicago beforehand and he could have answered them.

  • In reply to giaco:

    Didn't GR say Posada and Klopas read this blog? They have the opportunity to post here and speak directly to the fans. Would be a great way to get a feeler on what the fans are thinking and to build positive community relations...Maybe even put some issues to rest?

  • In reply to DerSting:

    Making themselves available (ala the Abbey Pub meeting last night) is something they've improved on greatly. Responding in person is pretty admirable considering they know fans aren't going to like some of the answers.

  • In reply to cesba:

    That I can agree with, management is a tough place to be as you can never seem to make anyone happy no matter what you do. Unfortunately many of us are unable to attend these events for whatever reason, but management is making an effort to reach the fans an that should be applauded.

  • In reply to DerSting:

    I can see the point behind what you're saying, but I would say to give Posada a chance. I didn't get the impression last night that he was putting us off or tossing up a bunch of smoke and mirrors to stave off any criticism. He listened intently to all questions, took the time to offer up info that he didn't have to, and didn't make excuses for everything. If anything, hearing Posada speak for myself last night showed me that he's really trying to do what he can, especially given the fact that he's been here for a relatively short time, and he's trying to get things in order to run an efficient and profitable team, while taking the fans and supporters into consideration as well. After last night, I'm willing to wait some things out before getting overtly critical of the team and operations. If we're having these same conversations 6 months or a year from now, different story.

  • In reply to cesba:

    Anyone interested in a live chat during the Fire's match on Saturday?

  • In reply to cesba:

    Count me in Guillermo for a live chat.

    On a different note if you became Fire president we wont be on your Ass, as I am sure you will get things done on a timely basis.LOL

  • In reply to cesba:

    Sure. :)

  • In reply to cesba:

    you should post something on the section 8 forums.

  • In reply to cesba:

    Daily Herald's Western Conference predictions......

    http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20110303/sports/703039967/

  • In reply to cesba:

    He predicted San Jose in the top three and Portland over Seattle. WOW!!!! Seattle is better than Portland and San Jose. IMO, FC Dallas has slipped a little bit in my ranking with Harris, McCarthy and Pearce gone. Galaxy, RSL and Seattle are my top three.

  • In reply to cesba:

    so 3-5-2 seems to be the formation the Fire are gonna use this year

    http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/fire

    gibbs, mikulic and anibaba as the backs, segares & pappa as the wide players. if there are concerns about pappas workrate, i dunno how well this formation will work on the right side then. tho IMO, nyarko does well coming back to help the defense. pappa mite be of more use in center-attacking midfield even tho he is not really a distributor?

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    Nyarko is actually very good at tracking back and helping. Pappa and Nyarko can switch sides if need be like they did at times last season and Ristic provides another option on the outside. I'm sure Pappa will see some time playing more centrally since they're looking to play with some interchangeable parts. Carolina Cup Challenge games should be interesting just to watch how they employ the 3-5-2.

  • In reply to cesba:

    yeah i think depth at back and at wide midfield are good - with robinson, kinney, and KWS as cover for the backs, and with ristic and *choke* banner to sub in at the wings (especially since both of them are used to playing both winger and outside back in the past)

    conway is an experienced keeper, so good backup there.

    i spose carr is a servicable forward substitute...
    so the real concern with depth should be center mid. after pause and husidic... its bone?

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    Maric will be in the center mid picture as well.

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    eh, i forgot they signed marko maric. i'd guess he'd be the replacement for pause if needed

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    I think they are going to use a 3-5-2 formation (more likely a 3-4-2-1 because Pappa and Puerari will be withdrawn). Gibbs, Mikulic, and Annibaba in the back. Nyarko and Segares on the wings. Pappa as an attacking mid. Pause and Bagio/Maric as holding mids. Chaves and Puerari up top. They will try to use Maric like they did with Conde last year when they put him in midfield. Bagio starts because he is a better attacker. Maric will finish because he is a better defender. Palladini will getr time if Pappa is gassed and the Fire are up. Ristic will get time at right back and at attacking mid if Nyarko is moved up top. These of course are just guesses that mean absoutely nothing. Also, Barrouch will get time up top because the kid takes up space and can definitely finish. What do you think??

  • In reply to SoccerNewbie:

    i like! i think pappa will be better at attacking center mid - he likes to cut in and shoot from the edge of the box. and nyarko is more willing to get back & help on defense

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    I think they're looking for Pappa to improve his distribution and playmaking ability as a central player as well.

  • In reply to SoccerNewbie:

    Sounds about right. Maric playing the role that they tried to fill with Conde in midfield is a pretty good comparison.

  • In reply to SoccerNewbie:

    The Fire announced all of the games in Charleston will be streamed live via the team's website. I think this shows Pos'Nada is listening. I don't think that this would have been arranged if there had not be great feedback on the RBNY stream. First game is tomorrow at 4 pm.

  • In reply to SoccerNewbie:

    good deal!

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    I thought Ristic was a starter.

  • In reply to Adam25:

    He probably will see some starts depending on who the opponent is.

  • In reply to cesba:

    and depending on who is healthy

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    I am not too crazy with that formation in comparison with the traditional 4-4-2 that I am used to seeing. If they run that new formation, how will they defend on set pieces? Last year, they ran a 3-5-2 against TFC and resulted into bad soccer.

  • In reply to cesba:

    Any idea if the game will be shown online? Or the announcement that it will be. I thought Posada said it will be shown. I hate when they do the live twitter post.

  • In reply to Adam25:

    I jus saw the announcement on Fire website. That's a yes. All six games.

  • In reply to DerSting:

    It seems as though everyone has ideas and in total, many are great. But to be even remotely fair, the guy seems to have a genuine interest in making the business better and developing the culture that will enable those around him to make the decisions needed for the club to become more responsive.

    It won't happen overnight and many of the signs to those of us who work with them on a more intimate level are that there are changes happening. Has the ball been dropped on a lot of things that need improvement? Yeah. I'm not defending the guy for that--on some items I have the same critique as many here do. What I will say though is that this is a huge enterprise that has to become profitable as well as produce results on the field. I think he is attempting to build the environment where that can happen on both fronts. He's letting the technical staff do what they need to/can do with what's available, and he's starting from a "zero-sum" (as he put it) in a few areas to ensure that what is being done is being done as correctly as possible with as little waste as possible. It won't be visible to to casual viewer for a while, but the beginning signs of those changes are there.

    Some of the bigger issues do need to be handled asap/yesterday, and I am surprised on one asked about the area surrounding the park.

    The away kit though......oh my.....at least iron on "CHICAGO" and a chest stripe.....

  • lol....I wouldn't want Tiger and Shortpasses on my ass every day.

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