Friday, September 13th, 2019 will go down in history as one of the most pivotal and important days in Chicago Fire Soccer Club history.
After a pretty unsuccessful 12 year reign as owner, longtime owner and chairmen Andrew Hauptman has sold his controlling share of the club to Joe Mansueto. Along with the ownership change, the club has also announced that the team will be playing downtown at Soldier Field.
In July 2018, Mansueto purchased a 49% share in the club, but Hauptman remained in full control as owner and chairmen. Effective immediately, Mansueto has now taken over full ownership of the Fire. According to Forbes, Mansueto has purchased the rest of the share for $240 million, putting his full investment in the Fire at $321.6 million.
“The timing of this transaction couldn’t be better as we return the world’s game to the city I love. Andrew and his family will always be part of the Fire family that he cares so very much about,” said Mansueto in the club’s press release on Friday.
Mansueto was born in Indiana but attended the University of Chicago where he got a bachelors and masters degree in business administration. He loves the Fire and loves the city. Mansueto is the founder and owner of Morningstar, a leading investment research firm.
According to Forbes, Mansueto’s net worth is $3.8 billion, and he is not afraid to invest a lot of his money into helping the team succeed on and off the field. There have already been whispers that he is looking to build a training facility, as well as eventually find somewhere in the city to build the Fire their own soccer-specific stadium.
With a lot of roster flexibility going into the off-season, Mansueto will have everything in his power to bring in any big-name player or even dismiss head coach Veljko Paunovic and general manager, Nelson Rodriguez. Having an owner who cares about the club and is willing to help the club in any way is key to a successful franchise, and it is the start of a brilliant new era of Chicago Fire soccer.
Returning to Chicago
Next season, the Fire will be back in Soldier Field for the first since 2005. They will no longer be playing in Bridgeview, as they are returning to downtown Chicago. On Wednesday, the Chicago Park District voted to move closer to finalizing a lease for the Fire to play at Soldier Field.
The Fire are trying to reintroduce themselves the city of Chicago, but they need to establish an on-field product that wins games and trophies.
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