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.
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)