Owner Joe Mansueto loves the passion and enthusiasm of Fire fans. That’s even true for the concerns they have about the new logo.
During a wide-ranging interview with the Sun-Times, Mansueto said the Fire expected a negative reaction to any change, especially from longtime fans. At the same time, Mansueto stressed that people who are neutral or more positive are less vocal, and he called for a “balanced look at the broader fan base.”
He also wants to give the new mark time and see how opinions flow during the season, but Mansueto didn’t rule out making a change if it receives negative feedback.
“I think when you see a new mark in context and with repetition, you need to really see that to properly evaluate it,” Mansueto said. “We need to give it time and hopefully associate it with positive memories, such as winning a championship. It’s hard to evaluate a mark right out of the gate. You need to see it in use. As a practical matter, we couldn’t change anything in the short term: merchandise, uniforms have long lead times. So the thought is, let’s gather feedback throughout the season, let people live with it a bit, see it in use. But our interests are totally aligned with our fan base. We want a great badge that’s fitting for a great club. Ultimately, if it’s not working, we’ll fix it. But we want something that works for our fans.
“I think you have to give it time to reach a conclusion. Since we can’t change anything in the short term anyway, let’s see how it goes throughout the season,” he added. “Does it grow on people? Does it not? If it’s not working, ultimately, we’ll fix it. Hopefully it does. People will see it in context and come to love it. If not, we’ll fix it. But we’ll do what’s right for our fan base. Our interests are totally aligned. We all want a great badge.”
Reaction to the logo was negative when it was first released in November. Other MLS teams mocked the mark, and a resemblance to the Latin Kings’ crown was quickly noticed. Though the furor has somewhat died down, any Fire social-media post still tends to be met with remarks criticizing the badge.
Fans might be familiar with the new mark, but it hasn’t been seen on uniforms — those will be unveiled Feb. 5. It won’t be worn in a regular-season game until March 1, and it’s still unclear who will be on that roster.
Mansueto hopes the logo will grow on fans, but he won’t be making a knee-jerk decision about any future changes.
“The key thing is, give it time, review it, let’s see how it plays out,” Mansueto said. “Let’s have the conversation again in March and June and see where we are.”
NOTES: Ben Donachie was named the Fire’s performance director. Donachie spent the last eight seasons as the strength and conditioning coach for AFC Bournemouth, currently in the English Premier League.
• The opening two rounds of the MLS SuperDraft are Thursday, and the Fire have two first-round picks (10, 26).