Just when we thought it was safe to be optimistic about the new direction of the Chicago Fire, our fleeting hopes are starting to evaporate.
Earlier this morning, Section 8 Chicago finance director Carri Alldredge posted a Twitter thread commenting on a meeting held last night between the Independent Supporters Association and front office officials.
Hey #cf97 fam, this is not a drill.— carri (@carrifromtexas) October 31, 2019
Supporters met with the FO last night and was informed of several decisions they have made, many that directly affect our community.
1. They want to trash the Charter
2. They are forming a new “council” that circumvents the ISA
3. They will require supporters to register for “membership”— carri (@carrifromtexas) October 31, 2019
4. They refuse to renew the ticket deal with supporters, eliminating our main source of revenue and severely impacting our ability to function
5. They will have minimum requirements for SGs to be recognized#cf97
Further unofficial reports of the meeting suggest that the ISA will have one seat on the new appointed supporter’s council, with the other representatives being hand-picked by the club. The club also indicated that they would be dissolving the supporter’s charter.
By Alldredge’s account, the front office is undertaking a brazen power grab aimed at undermining Section 8 and remaking Fire supporter culture into a shape of their choosing— smaller, friendlier to the club’s interests, and easier to control.
The end of Section 8’s status as a ticket broker would be a tremendous blow to the ISA’s ability to conduct gameday operations. By removing their primary source of revenue, Section 8’s ability to produce tifos, organize trips to away games, and recruit new fans. The implementation of a supporter’s registry— something which Section 8 has resisted and pushed back on for years— is also deeply troubling.
While tensions between supporters and the front office during the Andrew Hauptman era have been well-documented, there was hope that Joe Mansueto’s purchase of the team earlier this year would signal a fresh start and a healthier relationship between club leadership and the most dedicated fans. Those hopes have been quietly dashed in recent meetings between front office officials and Section 8, with the most visible clash coming in September following the club’s restrictive ban on “political” banners.
There have been rumblings that the front office is not only continuing to take an adversarial pose against supporters groups in the Mansueto era, but that they see the move to Soldier Field as an opportunity to bust Section 8’s leverage once and for all. This was hinted earlier this month when stadium maps offered to potential season ticket buyers showed that there would only be one supporters section, as opposed to two at SeatGeek Stadium.
We’ve reached out to the front office and Section 8 leadership for comments, and we will update this piece if and when they respond. In the meantime, Alldredge is asking fans to attend Section 8’s board meeting next Tuesday at Schuba’s Tavern in Lakeview to discuss the situation.
An earlier version of this article mistakenly reported that the next Section 8 board meeting is tonight. We’ve updated the post to include the correct date (next Tuesday). We regret the error.