Morningstar chairman Joe Mansueto purchases 49 percent stake in Fire
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The Fire have partial new ownership.
The Fire announced Wednesday that Joe Mansueto, the chairman of the Chicago-based investment research firm Morningstar, has acquired a 49 percent stake in the team. Andrew Hauptman will remain the Fire’s chairman, controlling shareholder and governor on the Major League Soccer board of governors, and Mansueto will become their vice chairman and alternate governor.
‘‘It’s hard to imagine a better partner for me and our club than Joe,’’ Hauptman said in a statement. ‘‘In addition to decades of experience as a respected business builder and leader, Joe brings a passion for soccer and cares deeply about the city of Chicago.
‘‘After getting to know Joe over the past several months, it is clear we both share a common vision and ambition for the club and the enormous continued potential for Major League Soccer in Chicago.’’
Mansueto is getting involved with the Fire at a tricky time in their history. Before the season, the Fire announced a deal to put their games on subscription-service ESPN+ instead of traditional broadcast TV. There is also the looming specter of Tom Ricketts’ ownership of a proposed United Soccer League franchise that could compete with the Fire. And relations with the team’s most ardent fans recently have soured over the banishment of the Sector Latino supporters’ group.
On the field, the Fire have struggled to maintain momentum after finishing third overall last season. They entered their home game Wednesday against the Union 6-8-5.
‘‘Andrew has assembled a top-tier management team and dramatically increased the profile of the Chicago Fire Soccer Club, Major League Soccer and the game overall in the Chicago area,’’ Mansueto said in a statement. ‘‘I’m incredibly excited to partner with him to build on the club’s achievements. . . . I’m pleased to help fulfill the vision of bringing this premier team to the forefront of soccer in our country.”
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