Morningstar Founder Joe Mansueto Buying Chicago Fire Soccer Club

By Amit Chowdhry ● Sep 15, 2019
  • The Chicago Fire Club announced that Andrew Hauptman is selling his controlling interest in the team to Morningstar founder Joe Mansueto

Andrew Hauptman — the longtime Chicago Fire Soccer Club Chairman and Owner — has announced the sale of his controlling interest in the Chicago Fire Soccer Club to Joe Mansueto. And Mansueto will be taking on the role of Chairman as the sole owner of the Chicago Fire effective immediately.

While under Hauptman’s leadership, the Chicago Fire Club also concluded an agreement with the Village of Bridgeview that allows the Fire to move back into the city of Chicago and the Club has received approval from the Chicago Park District board to move toward an agreement enabling the team to play its 2020 season at Soldier Field.

Hauptman’s term as the owner is ending after 12 years of growth, expanded reach, and development for the Club across Chicagoland. And throughout his ownership period, Hauptman oversaw a strategy of expansive soccer programming and deep community engagement in addition to investment in infrastructure, management talent, and world-class players.

“What the Fire has achieved has been transformational for the Club and the city of Chicago. We’ve significantly increased soccer’s presence and built an ecosystem that rivals any club across North America,” said Hauptman. “I’m extremely proud of the positioning of the Club at this historic juncture. I know that the next step of returning to Soldier Field will make Chicago proud and I look forward to cheering on Joe, the Club and its supporters as they continue this legacy.”

Since 2011, the Club saw a near-capacity crowd at Soldier Field when they hosted Manchester United. And in 2017, Hauptman helped bring the sold-out MLS All-Star Game to Chicago against renowned Spanish club Real Madrid. And since acquiring the Chicago Fire in 2007, Hauptman has made extensive investments in the first team while also establishing deep roots across the Chicagoland community.

Plus under Hauptman’s ownership, the Club built the CIBC Fire Pitch — which is a northside community center that serves 300,000 visitors annually. And he oversaw the introduction of the Chicago Fire Rec Soccer programming for adults with 20,000 participants.

And the Club formed the Chicago Fire Academy — a full scholarship program for Chicago’s elite youth players — and expanded the Chicago Fire Juniors program with 11 Clubs across six states, and 16,000 players participating year-round.

“I joined Andrew as a partner because he developed a tremendous platform for continued soccer growth across Chicago and beyond. He and the entire organization have worked tirelessly to dramatically increase the profile of the Chicago Fire Soccer Club, MLS and the game overall and have left a wonderful legacy for our city,” added Mansueto. “The timing of this transaction couldn’t be better as we return the world’s game to the city I love. Andrew and his family will always be part of the Fire family that he cares so very much about.”

Hauptman is currently the chairman of a private investment firm and family office called Andell Inc. Andell is now investing directly in both control and minority stakes in private and public companies as well as real estate.

And Mansueto is the Executive Chairman of Morningstar, an investment research firm based in Chicago. Mansueto founded Morningstar in 1984 and stepped down as CEO at the end of 2016. Now Morningstar employs over 5,000 people and operates in 27 countries around the world. Plus Mansueto also owns Inc and Fast Company magazines and is on the board of the Art Institute of Chicago and Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

According to Forbes’ sources, this deal was down with the Chicago Club valued at $400 million based on Mansueto paying $204 million for the 51% of the team that he did not already own. Hauptman was the sole owner of the Chicago Club from 2007 until last year when he had sold 49% to Mansueto. Mansueto has a net worth of around $3.8 billion.

Mansueto has also made a number of other major purchases in the city of Chicago within the last couple of years. In November 2018, Mansueto acquired the Belden-Stratford apartment complex for $106 million. And he also purchased the Wrigley Building for $255 million last year.

There have been a number of major soccer club deals in recent months. For example, former Microsoft executive Terry Myerson worked with a consortium of investors including Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks quarterback) and his Ciara (music artist), several Microsoft executives, and Macklemore (music artist) to buy a stake in the Seattle Sounders. And the NBA’s James Harden acquired a small stake in the Houston Dynamo for $15 million valuing that soccer club at $425 million.