Major League Soccer today announced the winners of year-end awards that recognize individuals and teams for outstanding contributions off the playing field. The Chicago Fire garnered one of the four team-based awards issued, winning the League's Customer Service/Ticket Renewal Award for the 2005 season. The combination of the Fire's dedicated Box Office and Ticket Sales staff members and the promise of next spring's opening of Bridgeview Stadium have already resulted in a 75% season ticket renewal rate for the Fire's 2006 season.
"The Fire has always made customer service to our fans a top priority, so we're honored to be recognized by MLS for the hard work our staff put in during the season," said Fire Director of Ticket Operations Mary Mazza. "We couldn't have won this honor without a tremendous show of loyalty from our dedicated base of season ticket holders, who are obviously looking forward to next season at Bridgeview Stadium. We are pleased to win this award and look forward to continuing our tradition of great customer service next year in Bridgeview."
The 2005 MLS Customer Service/Ticket Renewal Award is just the latest in a series of accolades earned by the Fire front office when it comes to serving its fans and the Chicagoland community. The Fire organization and its staff has garnered awards and recognition both locally and nationwide in recent years, including: the inaugural Sports Fans of America Association's Fan Friendliest MLS Team Award in 2003, the 2002 and 2004 MLS Community Relations Executive of the Year Award (Donald Ortale), the Daily Herald's 2002 "Naperville Person of the Year" honor (Peter Wilt), and the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame's Special Community Challenge Award in 2004. In addition, the Fire was one of four finalists in the Professional Sports category for the 2005 PRISM AWARDS, presented annually to franchises at both the major and minor league levels that demonstrate excellence in five categories of sport franchise management: strategic mission, innovative marketing, community relations, customer service and employee relations.
Two Youths to Represent Fire in Saturday's 2005 Sierra Mist MLS Dribble, Pass & Score(tm) Finals A day before the New England Revolution and Los Angeles Galaxy meet in MLS Cup 2005, 24 young athletes from around the country will seek glory of their own as they compete in the national finals of the 2005 Sierra Mist MLS Dribble, Pass & Score(tm) (DPS) youth skills competition at Pizza Hut Park this Saturday, Nov. 12 at 10:00 a.m. CT. The Chicago Fire will be represented at the national finals by 11-year-old Meghan Wagner of Carol Stream, IL, and 14-year-old Sean Freeman of Sturgeon Bay, WI, both of who advanced out of the Fire's Team Championship prior to its home contest at Soldier Field on Oct. 8 against the Columbus Crew.
A boys and girls national champion will be named in each of three age divisions: 8-9, 10-11 and 12-14. The finalists, who represent 10 of the 12 Major League Soccer markets, will be making the all-expense paid trip to Frisco with their families for the weekend. The national finalists have already advanced through three previous levels of competition within their local markets to reach the Sierra Mist MLS DPS National Finals.
Sierra Mist is the official sponsor of Sierra Mist MLS Dribble, Pass & Score(tm), the largest national grassroots soccer skills competition in the country. Sierra Mist MLS, Dribble, Pass & Score(tm) challenges kids between the ages of six and 14 in a nationwide event that culminates with the crowning of the winners at MLS Cup. Since the program kicked off in 1998 as Dribble, Pass & Shoot, more than one million kids have participated in the fun and free opportunity to test their soccer skills in the areas of dribbling, passing and shooting.
Digital images of all 24 participants are available by e-mailing Carly Chamberlin at carly.chamberlin@MLSnet.com.