CHICAGO (CBS) — Marking the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire, and the founding of the MLS franchise, the Chicago Fire made it official Tuesday.
They’re returning to play at Soldier Field next season, something they last did 15 years ago.
We wanted to know more about new principal owner Joe Mansueto, the billionaire founder of Morningstar, and how he plans to turn the team around.
CBS 2’s Megan Mawicke sat down with Mansueto as he talked about the move, the fan base, and the desire to win.
Why did you want this new challenge?
Because I love soccer. I really got interested through my kids. I didn’t play growing up in Northwest Indiana. I like to invest according to my passions. My background is Morningstar.
I love investing. I’m also involved in publishing. Inc. and Fast Company magazines, but they’re about entrepreneurial-ship. Another passion of mine. I have some real estate in Chicago, the Wrigley Building. It’s about preserving great architecture, preserving the past. I love design, so another passion. Soccer is another one.
What is your vision?
This team has so much potential. First and foremost, we want to win some championships.
Sports is very black and white that way. You either win or you lose. There’s such a hunger here among the fans to see a winner, so every aspect of the organization has to be world class from the front office to the players we put on the field.
To compete against the best clubs in the world, the best clubs in the U.S. to get that talent and the willingness is certainly here to do that.
The last thing I would say is that we want to engage very deeply in Chicago. Get out to the neighborhoods to promote soccer, make more Fire fans and just make this a bigger part of the cultural fabric of this city. And, Moving downtown to Soldier Field, so you could come and see a game much easier.
The team did play at Soldier Field before (1998-2001, 2003-2005).
Yeah, way back when before moving to Bridgeview.
Why do you think it’ll work this time?
A lot of people have moved back downtown. You see the vibrancy in the West Loop. Millennials are getting engaged in soccer, but it’s got to be accessible. Chivas played Club America, two top Mexican teams to a sold out Soldier Field, 62,000 fans. Over the summer, the Final of the Gold Cup sold out Soldier Field, 62,000 fans.
The fan base is here. They just need a great team they can get to easily in a good environment and that’s the play to create that for them.