With just 21 days left in the year, we here at Chicago-Fire.com thought it appropriate to take a look back on the 10 most memorable moments of what turned out to be a very successful year.
As it would be difficult to rank all the instances that pulled together a fantastic 15th year, we'll be listing them chronologically over the next two weeks. Some are club-wide and as the Team Writer, some are of a more personal nature but all were special.
The Club Announces Quaker Oats as club’s new jersey partner - January 17, 2012
Locking down a jersey sponsorship doesn’t happen overnight. Because it’s a club’s biggest partnership asset, it takes many months and sometimes even years of hard work to bring a deal to fruition.
As the Fire’s three-year deal with Best Buy ended following the 2010 season, the club went without a sponsor the following year, returning to the team name across the red strip and a blank white strip.
Through most of the 2011 campaign and certainly during the offseason, fans and media alike speculated about new possibilities of a partnership, with heavy suggestions being laid down that the Fire secure a partner based in Chicago.
It wasn’t until January 16 they found out they weren’t far off as Crain’s Chicago Business reporter Ed Sherman first broke the news that the Fire were set to announce a three-year deal with iconic, Chicago-based Quaker Oats Company.
RELEASE: Fire Partner with Quaker
The following afternoon, the club launched the new partnership with a highly acclaimed video that featured captain Logan Pause fueling up with Quaker oatmeal at the company’s downtown headquarters.
The veteran midfielder proceeded to dribble a ball through many of the city’s recognizable landmarks and neighborhoods, before unveiling the new primary strip walking out of the tunnel at Toyota Park.
Later that week, a number of Fire players as well as team owner Andrew Hauptman (pictured right with Quaker President Jose Luis Prado) helped officially launch the jersey at Quaker headquarters downtown (PHOTOS).
WATCH: Fire Unveil Jerseys at Quaker Headquarters
In the coming days, media influencers across the country (here, here, and here to name a few) would receive Fire-branded Quaker Oats canisters which came along with personalized jerseys and other nutritious Quaker products.
The launch was utilized as a case study in a new edition of a Sports Marketing book and would be the first of many creative pieces of outreach to help further both the Fire and Quaker brands over the course of 2012.
"Our partnership with Quaker Oats has been a key benchmark for 2012 and a milestone for our club,” said Chicago Fire COO Atul Khosla. “The first year has yielded positive results as we have strived to make Quaker Oats an extension of the Fire brand. We look forward to continued collaboration in 2013 and beyond.”
As I eat my Quaker Soft Baked Apple & Cinnamon cookie, I couldn't agree more.