A report from Crain’s this morning stated that the city of Chicago has been in talks with MLS about potentially hosting the 2017 All-Star game.
The city is among the finalists, although it is not known how many other cities may still be in the running. The game, which would be held at Soldier Field along the lake front, would be the first time the game has been hosted in the Chicago-land area since 2006. That edition, held at Toyota Park, saw the MLS All-Stars beat Chelsea 1-0.
While the Fire would not be directly hosting the game at Toyota Park, it would certainly lead to some exposure nationally with many eyes around MLS on Chicago that weekend. Chicago is obviously a huge market to cater to and there are fans of the beautiful game spread all across the city. If Chicago were to land the game, one would have to think it’d be very successful. Soldier Field has hosted many International Champions Cup games with Europe’s biggest clubs attending and the All-Star game would likely draw a similarly large crowd.
There would also be a number of events and activities that would surely be held around Chicago for fans leading up to the main event.
While the MLS All-Star game is not in the realm of the Olympics, this seems like a no-brainer for the city of Chicago and a nice event to add to its resume. On the other hand, I am still not sure what it would mean for the Fire organization.
It is never a good sign when MLS is considering an All-Star event in an MLS market but has no interest in hosting it where the actual MLS team plays. Much has been made of the many problematic issues surrounding Bridgeview and this is just another example of how the Fire doesn’t fit into the current MLS era, both geographically and organizationally. Changes need to be made, and MLS hosting an All-Star game in Chicago proper could be a way of sending a message. At least I hope it would be.
I am not the biggest fan of the current MLS All-Star game format but I would likely jump on the chance to go the game if it was held here. If this does come to fruition, it would hopefully lead to more discussion around the Fire and increase the local awareness and interest in the team. However, this is by no means a done deal so keep your eyes peeled for further developments.