Joe Mansueto aims to resurrect the fire – The Athletic

Sitting in a glass boardroom a few stories above the Chicago River and the Dusable Bridge, one of the most exciting owners to join MLS during this era of expansion considered the work he had done and had yet to do in its efforts to resurrect what was once one of Major League Soccer’s top franchises.

Joe Mansueto bought the historic Wrigley Building in 2018, about a year before he finalized his purchase of the Chicago Fire. The skyscraper was built 101 years ago as the headquarters of the chewing gum company. Where Michigan Avenue meets the river, its white-glazed terracotta facade and architecture based on the Giralda Tower of Seville, Spain, form a distinguished part of the city’s skyline.

Mansueto’s purchase of the Wrigley, along with historic Belden-Stratford apartments in Lincoln Park and a $50 million investment in The Terminal, an office campus in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood, hint at a strategy built around a love for the city proper. The Indiana-native Hammond built his company, Morningstar, here, and is still headquartered in downtown Chicago. But even after stepping down as CEO in 2017, his decisions seem to remain city-centric.

“I’m trying, on my small scale, to kind of improve the city and the experience that people have here,” Mansueto told The Athletic.

The Fire are celebrating their 25th season in MLS this year, but they definitely need a makeover in their hometown. Mansueto, who bought the Fire from Andrew Hauptman for around $400 million, according to one source, through two deals in 2018 and 2019, intends to accomplish that feat.

The 65-year-old billionaire has a willingness to spend and a desire to grow MLS. His eyes are on the long-term health of the club.

Michael J. Chiaramonte