Looking Into The Soldier Field Lease for Chicago Fire

Fire’s lease at Soldier Field calls for sliding payment based on attendance

MIAMI, Fla. (January 27, 2020) —

The Fire will play its 2020 home opener at Solder Field on March 21, facing the visiting Atlanta United FC. The Fire reportedly agreed to pay the Village of Bridgeview about $65 million to break their lease at SeatGeek Stadium, in a structured payment schedule.

Lease Particulars

The commercial facilities lease spells out that amount that the franchise will pay the Chicago Park District to play at Soldier Field depends on the team’s popularity. Specifically, the team’s lease with the Park District calls for sliding payment scales based on attendance.

Term of the Lease

The initial portion of the lease is three years, with a series of options–including two for three-year extensions, plus a pair of one-year extensions. In total, there is a potential for up to eight years beyond the initial three-year term.

Attendance-Driven Per Game Payment Scale

The amount the Fire must pay per game is defined as “operating expenses.” The minimum per game is $145,000 for games with 15,000 attendees or fewer. The fee rises based on attendance: $162,500 for up to 20,000; $176,500 for up to 25,000; $201,875 for up to 35,000 and $253,000 for any crowd larger than 35,000.

Per Game “Use Fee.”

For every game played by the Fire at Soldier Field, the club must tender to the Park District a per-game “use fee” of $10,000.

Rent Escalation Clause

The fees contained in the lease agreement will rise by 3 percent per year over the life of the lease.

Ticket Prices and Related Fees

The Fire retain the right to set their own ticket prices, but they will include fees to be tendered to the Park District.

Each ticket will carry a $4 charge denominated as a “facility fee.” For larger crowds, defined as crowds in excess of 25,000, a “capital improvement” fee will range from $1 per ticket for crowds larger than 25,000 to $3 for crowds larger than 35,000.

Performance Guaranty

The Fire were required to post an irrevocable letter of credit with a major financial institution in an amount that represents the operating expenses and use fees they paid for their final season in Bridgeview. That amount was $2.635 million. The use of an irrevocable letter of credit (widely used in international business transactions) will to allow the Chicago Park District to draw on the letter of credit in order to recoup its damages in the event that the Fire breach the lease agreement.

Retention of Parking Revenues

The lease agreement provides the team a substantial cut of revenue from parking fees. For parking, the lease sets the per-vehicle rate of $35 — it will be higher for premium ticket holders.

The parking fees can be adjusted each year at the Park District’s discretion. The Fire are to receive 60 percent of parking revenue for crowds of 10,000 or less. The team’s share will gradually fall to 50 percent for larger crowds (> 25,000).

Concessions F&B , Merchandise Sales Revenue To Accrue To Fire

The same percentage distribution applies to the Fire’s cut of food and beverage money and merchandise sold at the stadium.

Scheduling Priority and Conflicts

The Fire go from being the primary tenant in Bridgeview to being a secondary tenant in Chicago. The Chicago Bears of the NFL (American Football) are the primary tenant and have a five-day scheduling window, meaning that the Fire cannot play a game at Soldier Field that falls on a date that is less than five days from a Bears’ home game. The Fire can host games one day after Bears games. The Fire also do not have scheduling priority ahead of any event that had been agreed upon before Sept. 5, 2018.

The agreement states that from March 1 until the beginning of the NFL preseason, (generally in August), the Park District will attempt to keep two Friday-Sunday windows and five midweek dates open per month.

The NFL and MLS have different calendars, which means the Fire schedule could change after the Bears’ release their 2020 calendar, which comes out in April. Once it receives the Bears’ schedule in the spring, the Park District has five days to share it with the Fire. If there is a conflict, the Park District is compelled to help the Fire find a suitable replacement date. If a suitable date cannot be found, the Fire can reschedule at another venue.

As for potential postseason games for the Chicago Fire (which would be in October-November), the lease recognises the “inherent uncertainty” of scheduling those matches.

Playing Surface

At the beginning of the MLS season the Park District is responsible for making sure the grass field is in a suitable condition to host a match. The Park District will pay for a full resod of the field one time either before or during the Fire season, and any additional full or partial resod will be at the Fire’s expense. The Bears also can request resoddings.

Special Clause: Honouring Schweinsteiger?

A clause grants the Fire a chance to hold a “friendly farewell game” in connection with the retirement of Bastian Schweinsteiger, who is mentioned by name. No date has been set, nor is an opponent for any potential event specified. If the match comes to pass, Schweinsteiger’s former club Bayern Munich would be an obvious candidate to serve as the opponent.

Photo: Chicago Sun-Times

The Park District issued this statement: “The agreement between the Chicago Park District and Chicago Fire is financially sound and beneficial for both parties. The District utilized the expertise of its management, the Soldier Field management team and outside counsel to develop the terms.”

In July 2019, team president and general manager Nelson Rodriguez said that a while move to Soldier Field wouldn’t heal all issues for the Fire, its location presented some clear advantages for the club and its fans.

“I do think the location of the venue matters, and it’s been challenging to get [to SeatGeek Stadium] for many fans,” he said at the time, adding, “we do not believe that moving to the city is a salve for all our issues. We have to do a better job of connecting to people where they live.”

USL League One – New Teams For 2020

Division Three League Will Field 12 teams in 2020 Season 


MIAMI, Fla. (January 25, 2020) —

For its second season, the USL League One will field twelve teams.

Among the newcomers will be second teams for Inter Miami CF’s and the New England Revolution. Miami and New England join Union Omaha SC as expansion clubs.

Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami

“We’re thrilled to have Inter Miami CF and the New England Revolution join League One,” said USL Senior Vice President Steven Short. “It’s exciting to watch our league as it continues to grow in both size and intensity. We’re already looking forward to our second year of competition and know that both of these clubs will be tremendous additions to our league.”   

Inter Miami is Major League Soccer’s 25th club, set to begin play in March of 2020. The club is led by managing owner Jorge Mas and co-owner and President of Soccer Operations David Beckham. The League One side will train and play in Fort Lauderdale at the new Inter Miami Stadium and Training Complex (Centro Deportivo). The first team as well as the Inter Miami CF Academy will also train and practice there.

Sporting Director Paul McDonough had this to say:

“League One is the final piece of our development structure. We are proud to close this deal and join a competitive league where our youth players can compete against quality opponents,” said Paul McDonough, the Sporting Director for Inter Miami CF. “This team will provide more opportunities for players from South Florida as well as elite international prospects.”

New England Revolution

Owned and operated by Robert and Jonathan Kraft, the New England Revolution are one of the founding members of Major League Soccer and have a rich history that spans more than two decades since the league’s launch in 1994. In addition to winning the U.S. Open Cup in 2007, the Revolution have participated in five MLS Cups, with its most recent appearance coming in 2014. New England has qualified for the 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs under the leadership of newly appointed Sporting Director and Head Coach Bruce Arena who will oversee the League One side in conjunction with Technical Director Curt Onalfo.

“The addition of Revolution II is a critical step that fully defines the pathway for our younger players to professional soccer with the New England Revolution,” said Revolution Technical Director Curt Onalfo. “USL League One is an excellent opportunity for our young talent to compete against quality opponents and we’re excited for how this new team will elevate our player development model.” 

Union Omaha

Union Omaha’s brand and colours were revealed last October by Alliance Omaha Soccer (USL Omaha).

“We are a club formed by people with a common purpose; it only seemed appropriate that our name should embody this vision. We are honored to officially be Union Omaha,” said Alliance Omaha Soccer CEO and Managing Partner Gary Green. “This is a crest our players and our fans will wear over their hearts, and they do so knowing that it is not just the crest, but our club, being built from the ground up. We want to thank the thousands of fans that were a part of us identifying a name and designing the crest. We will continue to listen to you as we grow this club and grow Omaha.”

The crest was designed by Matthew Wolff, owner of Matthew Wolff Design, in collaboration and input from the community.

“Union Omaha is the only American club represented by the great horned owl, and it will serve as a symbol for us to be fierce and competitive on the pitch,” said Matt Homonoff, the team’s Chief Operating Officer.  “Off the pitch, the stars will be our three pillars for all we do in the community. This club will always be about the incredible people that represent our region, creating a sense of place and sharing a common purpose to grow the beautiful game.”

Inter Miami First Training Session

MIAMI SHORES, Fla. (January 21, 2020) —

In another series of ‘firsts,’ Inter Miami CF held its historical first training session yesterday at Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida. A new season had begun. The very first one, and one which for fans must have seemed like a day they never thought would arrive.

This came 1811 days after February 5, 2014, the day that David Beckham announced to the crowd gathered at the Pérez Art Museum that he would bring an MLS franchise to Miami.

Or 4 years, 11 months, 16 days. Or 59 months, 16 days, including the end date. In other words, a fairly long time.

But now the eternal wait is over; the doubters, the haters and the NIMBY’s silenced. Find out how this historical day went by clicking the link here:

Manager Diego Alonso guides the Miami players through technical drills yesterday at Barry University.
The 2020 MLS game ball.

Inter Miami linked with major sponsorship

MIAMI, Fla. (January 20, 2020) —

BREAKING: Inter Miami is currently the only club in MLS without a shirt sponsor for the 2020 campaign but the lack of a sponsor is likely to end very soon. Sources expect a major agreement to be announced in the next few days.

Read more about this over on Inter Miami Hoy.


Inter Miami's players have unique hydration needs. Fortunately they now have an official sports drink.

MIAMI, Fla (January 15, 2020) —

BODYARMOR Sports Drink today announced a multi-year partnership with Inter Miami CF, establishing the brand as the team’s “Official Sports Drink” starting this upcoming 2020 Major League Soccer season. Details about this new agreement can be found on Inter Miami Hoy by clicking on the link below or by going to intermiamihoy.com.

“BODYARMOR is America’s new leader in sports hydration and they are a great fit for Major League Soccer – the League for a new North America,” said MLS senior VP of Business Development Carter Ladd in statement.

“BODYARMOR believes in the future of Major League Soccer and is committed to joining us in our ongoing efforts to elevate soccer’s popularity to even higher levels in North America. BODYARMOR’s rise and momentum mirrors that of MLS, and we are excited to kick off the partnership at the Leagues Cup final and look forward to working with them for many years to come.”

A premium sports drink with potassium-packed electrolytes, antioxidants and coconut water made with no artificial flavors, sweeteners and no colors from artificial sources, BODYARMOR is now the No. 2 sports drink sold in US convenience stores nationwide and on track to eclipse $700 million in retail sales by the end of 2019.

Inter Miami Selects Two in the 2020 MLS Superdraft presented by adidas

MIAMI, Fla. (January 9, 2019) —

With the first overall pick, Inter Miami selected the 2019 Mac Hermann winning striker Robbie Robinson, 21, from Clemson University. With the third pick, they went with the 2019 NCAA Division I Men’s champion full-back Dylan Nealis, 21, from Georgetown University. 

More on today’s selections including sporting director Paul McDonough’s assessment and what to expect next on Inter Miami Hoy.

MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas – Jan 9 & 13, 2020

MIAMI, Fla. (January 8, 2019) —

This year’s crop of talent coming through once again has a good number of talented players, a few of whom could thrive and prosper in MLS given the right opportunity.

First round coverage of the draft will be streamed live at 12:30 pm ET on the ESPN app, as well as through ESPN social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

The broadcast will feature real-time look-ins on club draft rooms and draftee reactions, as well as analysis from Taylor Twellman, Adrian Healey, Matt Doyle and special guests.

For more information and a look at who the top players are, click on the below:

Tune in here on Thursday, January 9, 2020 at 12:30 pm ET to watch the MLS Superdraft presented by adidas.

No.TeamNameUniversity. Pos.
1Robbie RobinsonClemsonF
2Jack MaherIndianaCB
3Dylan NealisGeorgetownRB
4Ryan RaposoSyracuse M
5Daryl DikeVirginiaF
6Henry KesslerVirginiaCB
7Miguel BerryU. San DiegoF
8Garrett McLaughlinSo. Methodist F
9Jeremy Kelly – traded to ColoradoNorth CarolinaRB
10
via trade with Chicago
Patrick Seagrist
MarquetteLB
11via trade with Colorado
Alistair Johnston
Wake ForestRB
12Tanner BeasonStanfordLB/CB
13via trade with New England
Elliott Panicco
CharlotteGK
14Nkosi BurgessSeattleCB
15Cherif Dieye (🇸🇳)LouisvilleW
16Aaron Malloy (🇮🇪)Penn StateDM
17 Cal JenningsCentral FloridaF
18Noah BillingsleyUC Santa BarbaraLB
19Nyal HigginsSyracuseD
20Dayonn HarrisConnecticut RW
21via trade with Philadelphia
Simon Lefebvre
TempleGK
22Jesus PerezIllinois-ChicagoM
23Patrick Nielsen (🇩🇰)Michigan StateD
24Paulo PitaMarshallGK
25Ifunanyachi Achara (🇳🇬)Georgetown F
26Jonathan JimenezPacificLB
OrderTeamNameUniversityPos.
27Jack SkahanNorth CarolinaW
28Tanner DieterichClemsonM
29Rey OrtizPortlandF
30Simon LekressnerCaliforniaD
31Joey DeZartWake Forest M
32Daniel GagliardiFIUGK
33Malick MbayeClemsonD
34Luka PrpaMarquetteM
35Danny ReynoldsUNC WilmingtonD
36Wallis LapsleyUC DavisGK
37Robin AfamefunaVirginiaD
38Jon BellUMBCD
39Jonathan DeanCentral FloridaD
40Manuel FerriolJames MadisonM
41Deri CorfeWright StateF
42Josh FawoleLoyolaF
43 Keegan MeyerHigh PointGK
44Austin AvizaProvidenceGK
45Tom SmartAkronD
46Michael WetunguMichigan StateD
47Remi PrieurSaint Mary’s Col.GK
48Felicien DumasNotre DameD
49Danny GriffinProvidenceM
50Jack HallahanMichiganM
51Simon WaeverIndianaD
52Timo MehlichUNLVM