The Chicago Fire is a professional soccer club based in Bridgeview, a southwestern suburb of Chicago. It is a member of Major League Soccer (since 1998) and competes in the Eastern Conference (since 2002). It was founded by Anschutz Entertainment Group, the world’s largest owner of sports teams. Besides, the company is one of MLS co-founders and the lead investor.
The franchise’s founding date (October 8, 1997) fell on the 126th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. On October 8-10, 1871, the fire destroyed 9 km2 of wooden sidewalks and tar-roofed houses. The team was named “Chicago Fire” as a tribute to the city’s past. That’s why the Chicago Fire logo is extremely symbolic, being derived from the shape of a fire department’s crest. The flamy name was chosen among other options like Blues, Rhythm, and Wild. Simultaneously, the general manager of the club Peter Wilt said that Chicagoans could be proud and delighted about the rebuilding of their native city.
On September 6, 2007, the franchise was sold to Andell Holdings, a private investment corporation from Los Angeles, for $ 35 million. Andell Holdings chairman Andrew Hauptman became the club owner.
The team’s official color palette includes red and white. The alternative color scheme involves navy blue, sky blue, and black. Nike, as the Chicago Fire equipment supplier, had an intention to make total rebranding. They wanted to rename the team to “Chicago Rhythm,” to change the color palette to turquoise, black, and green and to introduce cobra as a key element of the emblem. However, the owners rejected the given idea in favor of Adrenalin’s concept.
Meaning and History
Anschutz Entertainment Group asked Adrenalin, a sports-specific branding agency, to take on the logo development project. The designers created the emblem, taking into account the football club’s connection with the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Peter Wilt admitted that thanks to Adrenalin, they had the most envied logo in Major League Soccer. The Chicago Fire logo hasn’t been changed since 1998.
1998 – today
As well as the team’s name, the logo Chicago Fire also contains the allusion to the fire. Its central element is the cross of St. Florian, the patron saint of firefighters. The emblem Chicago Fire Department has the same shape. St. Florian’s cross is an eight-pointed cross with rounded edges. The arms narrowed at the center are dark blue. They are trimmed with red curly lines mirroring the contour shape. The upper and lower arms include capitalized sans serif grey-scripted “Chicago” and “Fire” wordmarks.
The middle of the cross is a grey circle with a blue outline and red letter “C” inside. Six white points are representatives of four six-pointed stars in the Municipal Flag of Chicago. They commemorate the monumental events in the history of the city, including the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The red “C” obviously stands for “Chicago,” similar to the Chicago Bears and Cubs that use that character in their logos. It is written in an angular style font and is trimmed with a spike on the left.