Let’s be honest, the original Major League Soccer teams that debuted in 1996 and 1998 had awful team names, terrible colors, and atrocious badges. The Kansas City Wiz, Dallas Burn, and San Jose Clash were all terrible team monikers that were thought up by the non-soccer geniuses at Nike, Puma, Reebok, and Adidas. Yes, those early MLS teams were given their names by the companies that created the original kits. Soccer fans can get the latest sports news at RealFootball 365 and bonus codes before wagering on their favorite MLS teams in 2020.
In the wake of the terrible team names, the Chicago Fire were a breath of fresh air. It played on the city’s past and a major event that took place. Now, over two decades after the Chicago Fire entered MLS in 1998, the club has foregone its history by changing its badge, name, and colors.
What Is The Big Deal?
The Fire have found it difficult to crack the busy Chicago sports-sphere for some time. After having success in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the Fire have not won silverware since 2006. Since that last trophy win in the US Open Cup, the Fire have made the playoffs just five times in 13 seasons. Two of those seasons saw them finish dead last in MLS.
A move to Bridgeview, 40 minutes outside of Chicago, to a soccer-specific stadium and out of the cavernous Soldier Field was seen as a brilliant move in 2006. The venue was a home for the Fire when few MLS teams had their own stadiums. Yet, the team’s ownership has found that move to be the catalyst (or at least one) to the club’s current problems.
The Chicago metro area is disinterested in the Fire and rather than spend money and make educated moves to bring top-quality soccer players to the team, the club has simply re-branded itself this MLS offseason. The re-brand will coincide with a move back to Soldier Field in 2020 where the Fire will play in front of mostly empty seats.
Will Things Change In 2020?
The simple answer to whether a stadium move, color change, and badge update will draw more fans is a resounding NO! The Fire had the worst attendance in MLS last season with an average of 12,324. On the face of it, that is a respectable number but this is MLS, and clubs believe there are more soccer fans out there interested in the league than there really are.
Soldier Field is a gigantic stadium that can hold over 60,000 fans. The Fire will struggle to get the venue two-thirds of the way full, which won’t happen on a regular basis, if at all. It is believed that a move from their Bridgeview stadium will cost the Fire $65 million to break the venue’s lease.
Along with the stadium change, fans will need to buy all-new Fire shirts, hats, and other apparel. The badge has been completely changed to one that can only be described as something a marketing company with no knowledge of soccer or Chicago came up with. They’ve also added a silly story to why the badge was created: “it is a symbol for Chicago’s Great Fire of 1871, and how the people of the city resolved to rise from the ashes”. Lame!
The new blue, yellow, orange and red colors of the badge make the team look more like a franchise that should be located in the American southwest rather than the Windy City. To cap things off, the club has altered its name from Chicago Fire Soccer Club to Chicago Fire Football Club. The simple change makes the club look more European but still rids itself of the past.
The amount of money it has cost and will cost the Fire to change stadiums and erase its past seems foolish. Using that money to sign good players and coaches is all the franchise needed to do to bring fans out, to begin with. A winning product is what fans want to see yet they are being given everything but that.