Fire At Wrigley?

Cubs and Fire in talks to bring soccer to Friendly Confines


After seeing hockey fans fill an icy Wrigley Field to watch the Blackhawks and Red Wings on New Year’s Day 2009 and hearing the buzz surrounding November’s Illinois-Northwestern football game at the ballpark, it appears the Fire want “next.”

According to a source with knowledge of the negotiations, the Fire and Cubs are kicking around the possibility of having Chicago’s MLS club play Mexico’s Club America in a friendly at the Friendly Confines.

A Cubs spokesperson confirmed the teams have been in talks but said in an e-mail that “there is nothing confirmed for 2010 or beyond.

“That said, we have looked into hosting a soccer game at Wrigley Field over the past two seasons and can contemplate seeing soccer at Wrigley in the future.”

The exhibition would be the first soccer game at Wrigley since the Chicago Sting of the defunct North American Soccer League stopped playing there in 1984.

In an interview with the Tribune in April, Fire president Dave Greeley talked about the possibility of the Fire playing at Wrigley Field. A Fire spokesperson said the club had no comment.

The Fire has played its home games at Toyota Park in Bridgeview since 2006 after spending its first eight seasons at Soldier Field and Benedetti–Wehrli Stadium (then called Cardinal Stadium) in Naperville. In four home games this season, the Fire have averaged 14,333 fans, in the bottom-half among Major League Soccer’s 17 teams.

America is among Mexico’s most popular clubs and has a strong following in the Chicago area. The Fire signed a multiyear marketing partnership with America in April 2009, including two exhibition games last season.

 

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