More and more teams today are realizing that in order to gain more fans they need to do a better job courting the folks who appreciate the aesthetic attributes of the sport.
Chicago’s soccer club continuously puts out culturally-significant events that leave us impressed with a renewed interest in the game, salve the club and the players, which always leads me to ask, “why aren’t more teams doing this type of thing?”
The easy answer is “because they don’t have to”. Unlike the majority of their pro counterparts in our city, the Fire doesn’t sell out every single game and the size of the club’s fan base pales in comparison to that of the ‘other’ football team in town. We’re all aware of the never-ending ‘futbol debate’ that rages on between American football fans and the lovers of soccer, and whether you love footy more than football, with Toyota Parks’ southwest city location, catching an impromptu match isn’t as easy as jumping a cab over to Soldier Field.
But if you prefer extracurricular sporting events that involve good lighting, art, civil conversations, DJs and cocktails, then the Chicago Fire has an event for you! After all, this is the team that brings us sexy events like the Fashion Show at the Wit (check out my review from 2013 here) and the incredibly popular White Party. The Fire has a flare for throwing high-brow events that celebrate and promote the game effortlessly.
I recently had the pleasure of attending the Chicago Fire’s fourth annual Art of Futbol at Prairie Production studio on Randolph with friends Elizabeth Stanton and Monica Gostkiewicz. This annual event rotates between slick venues around the city and brings together a curated collection of donated art that in some shape or form celebrates the game of futbol. A handful of the artists donate a portion of their proceeds to the Chicago Fire Foundation.
Over 50 artists submitted art with 25 on display including several of the Chicago Fire players as well as one of our favorite Bears, Martellus Bennett. The art exhibit ranged from mixed display to oil on canvas to photography with all pieces sharing the common feature of futbol.
DJ Anton Trizna spun while a diverse mix of guests mingled, sipped complimentary wine from E & J Gallo, beers from Heineken and water from Fiji while nibbling on impressive light fare from Shakout sushi, Carnivale, and Cabot cheeses. The scene was lively and inviting with hands-on exhibits that allowed guests to paint and leave behind a personalized mark on a community piece of art. A handful of players (very difficult to identify in street clothes) mingled with guests and roamed freely among the crowd that skewed heavily male (70/30).
The Fire are known for throwing great events and the warmer weather brings not only ideal conditions for matches at Toyota Park but the slew of upcoming must-hit events that warrant your attention. Check out these upcoming Fire fundraisers and be sure to make your way to Toyota Park this summer for some of the best futbol in Chicago.
Saturday, June 14: 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Hosted at Carmichael’s Steakhouse, this event allows World Cup fans to sample a variety of brews from local breweries, snack on various appetizers, and socialize with other attendees while viewing World Cup games on the big screen.
Purchased tickets here: Fire, Brews, and Bites
Save the date for the 2014 Chicago Fire’s 3rd Annual White Party: Date & time are TBD – always held in August, and always one to sell out – this is one of the hottest international events of the summer and a must-hit for any gal – futbol fan or not. Check out the pics and info from the Chicago Fire Foundation’s 3rd Annual White Party for a taste.