CHICAGO (August 23, 2021) – Chicago Fire FC today announced the creation of its new in-house marketing agency, Second Star Creative. The integrated marketing agency will provide a breadth of consultation and services in the areas of social media, graphic design, motion graphics, paid media, events, media relations as well as brand strategy and positioning. The in-house agency is believed to be the first of its kind in Major League Soccer.
“We’re fortunate to have assembled one of the most creative and hard-working marketing teams in all of professional sports,” said the Club’s President Ishwara Glassman Chrein. “The formation of Second Star Creative will see us add additional talent in a variety of areas as we look to better serve and support our corporate partners in the years to come.”
The name Second Star Creative is inspired by the iconic Chicago city flag. Each of the four six-pointed stars in the Chicago flag stands for a symbolic moment in the city’s history and the second star represents The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 for which Chicago Fire FC is named.
The new in-house agency will be led by longtime MLS executive Kyle Sheldon, who joined the Fire in 2018 as SVP of Marketing. Under his leadership, the Club has aligned its traditional marketing efforts – including advertising, brand and design, content, eSports, events, matchday experience, and video production – with the Club’s corporate partnership group, including business development and account management.
Bios for Second Star Creative’s leadership team can be found below.
“Our team loves two things: Soccer and Chicago. And we’re uniquely positioned to help brands connect to the millions of soccer fans in Chicago who love the Fire as well as the game abroad,” said Sheldon. “With the 2026 World Cup taking place in North America, there’s no better time for companies to build out their soccer strategy. We stand ready to help brands capture the hearts and minds of those who love and celebrate the world’s most popular sport.”
The Club has seen significant growth in the content and social media space, where the team has gone from four full-time employees in 2018 to ten content and creative specialists today. From 2018 to 2020, impressions on the Club’s social media channels have grown by 41% and total video views by more than 600%. The industry-acclaimed content team is currently hiring for three positions:
Chicago Fire FC is in the midst of a transformative time under Owner and Chairman Joe Mansueto, the Executive Chairman and Founder of Morningstar. The Club has made its return to historic Soldier Field, overhauled the sporting staff and first team roster, moved its business office to The Loop, redesigned the Club’s crest with significant fan involvement, and fully reimagined its matchday fan experience. The Club is also exploring sites for its future performance center, which will be privately funded.
The Club is currently out in the market with its most visible and impactful brand asset, the team’s front of jersey sponsor position. The new front of jersey partner will see more than two (2) billion organic impressions annually via broadcast, social media, in-stadium and earned media. The Fire is the only MLS team in a top-10 media market that has its jersey front available for 2022. The new jersey front partner will join the Club during a time of significant acceleration and will play a central role in the full roll out of the Club’s new crest - including the reveal of a new primary kit - and as a part of the team’s landmark 25th season celebration next year.
The Club’s roster of corporate partners includes the likes of adidas, Allstate, BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois, BODYARMOR, CIBC, Continental, Heineken, Keurig Dr Pepper, Motorola, and Mercedes-Benz, among others.
Companies interested in joining the Club’s corporate partner family can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
SECOND STAR CREATIVE LEADERSHIP TEAM
Todd Albright, VP of Fan Experience & Events
Albright is a 15-year veteran of the sports industry, specializing in live events, stadium operations and match presentation. He worked for the Seattle SuperSonics, Oklahoma City Thunder, 3 Point Productions and Seattle Sounders FC before joining the Fire. Albright earned his B.A. from Western Washington University and his M.B.A. from the University of Washington.
Megan Cantwell, VP of Integrated Marketing
With more than 15 years of B2B and B2C global marketing experience, Cantwell is a leader in integrated marketing, branding, sponsorship marketing and business development. Prior to joining the Fire, she spent time with Cushman & Wakefield, BMO Harris, United Airlines and Leo Burnett. During her time at United Airlines, she led integrated campaigns and activation with key sports properties across NFL, NBA, MLB, PGA, NHL and the London 2012 and Sochi 2014 Olympics.
Sean Dennison, SVP of Communications & Media
Dennison oversees all communications functions at the Fire, including soccer communications, public relations and broadcast. Previously, as VP of Communications at Major League Soccer and Soccer United Marketing, Dennison led all business and non-sports communications for the League and its commercial arm. A native of Ottawa, Ontario, Dennison earned a B.A. from McGill University and a Master of Science from New York University. Prior to his time at MLS, he held positions with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and IMG.
Tyler Emerick, Sr. Director of Content & Creative
Emerick is in his third season with the Fire and oversees the Club’s video, design, digital, and social teams. Prior to joining the Fire, he worked in digital and social media for both U.S. Soccer senior national teams, the Phoenix Suns, San Francisco 49ers, and Major League Baseball. In total, he has a decade of experience in content and storytelling across the U.S. professional sports landscape.
Barry McMullin, Commercial Director of Partnership Development
McMullin's 30-year career in business and partnership development has seen him work for some of the biggest properties in sports and entertainment including the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee, NBA, NFL, and WWE. He has secured international and domestic partnerships with dozens of Fortune 500 companies by creating integrated marketing solutions to help brands reach their business goals. He joined the Fire in January of 2021.
Kyle Sheldon, SVP of Marketing
Sheldon has more than 15 years of experience in professional sports. Prior to joining the Fire in 2018, he spent time with Seattle Sounders FC (2016-18), NASCAR (2013-2015), and D.C. United (2005-2012). While with the Sounders, the team he led was named the 2016 MLS Marketing Team of the Year and he was a finalist for the 2017 MLS Marketing Executive of the Year. Sheldon has a B.A. in Communications from St. Olaf College – where he also played collegiate soccer – and an M.A. in Public Relations from Marquette University.