SBJ/September 1 - 7, 2003/Facilities
Fire ads to promote return to Soldier Field for 2 games
Published September 1, 2003
New Chicago Fire-themed television and radio spots will break next week, promoting the MLS team's return to Soldier Field for its last two regular-season home matches this year.
The TV and radio ads are part of a multimedia promotional push designed to "remind fans that soccer returns to Soldier Field in October," said Steve Pastorino, the Fire's assistant general manager. In addition to local TV and radio time, the campaign includes newspaper and billboard ads.
The campaign's ads encourage consumers to buy tickets for the Fire's Oct. 10 and Oct. 18 regular-season games at the newly renovated Soldier Field and for an Oct. 15 match there between the men's national teams of Mexico and Uruguay.
Because Soldier Field was undergoing a $606 million renovation, the Fire moved its home games last season and for most of this season to Cardinal Stadium in nearby Naperville, Ill.
According to Pastorino, the campaign's local TV spots will air on Fox Sports Net Chicago, on the Telemundo affiliate in Chicago and, through a deal with the RCN Cable system, on ESPN, ESPN2, Fox News Channel and The Learning Channel. Radio spots are scheduled to run on at least one Spanish-language station in the market and on four Chicago-based English-language stations whose primary target demographic is 18- to 34-year-olds.
"We need to do a lot of work so that our return [to Soldier Field] isn't lost in the shuffle," Pastorino said. The NFL's Chicago Bears — Soldier Field's primary tenant — open the new stadium with a Monday night game Sept. 29 against the Green Bay Packers.
As part of the Fire's new promotional push, the Chicago-based Rosen Group, the MLS team's agency of record since 1998, created a logo that appears on all the print, billboard and TV ads, the icon serving as a centerpiece for the campaign. That logo depicts a Puma soccer ball rising out of a representation of the new stadium, said Jerry Rosen, president and chief creative officer for the Rosen Group. Puma is a partner of both MLS and the Fire.
Neither Pastorino nor Rosen would disclose the dollar size of the ad campaign. Industry sources estimated it to be in the mid-six figures.
The print ads, which were to launch late last week, are running in several newspapers in the Chicago market, including the Chicago Tribune, Pastorino said. Also up in the market are five Fire-themed billboards.
The campaign's headline: "Red October." That theme has been used by the Fire to brand the team's playoff games in previous years. Fire players wear all-red uniforms for their home games.
Ticket prices for the Fire's two regular-season games at Soldier Field range from $15 to $40; regular-season games in Naperville this season ranged from $15 to $35.