TurnkeyZRG Seeking Chief Marketing Officer for the Chicago Fire

November 8, 2023 – TurnkeyZRG has been retained by the Chicago Fire Football Club to lead in its search for a chief marketing officer. Allie Crone led the assignment. Coming off a record-breaking 2023 Season, Chicago Fire is seeking a data-driven and agile leader to join the executive team. Acting as brand steward, this role is responsible for developing and implementing branding, advertising, media, and promotion activities to generate ticket sales, leverage corporate partner collaboration and garner increased awareness and interest for the Club locally and globally.

Additionally, the role will oversee marketing/brand strategies related to the Chicago Fire Foundation, Fire Pitch (recreational soccer facility), youth and recreational soccer and other Club endeavors, and will serve as the club’s primary liaison to the Major League Soccer marketing department and Soccer United Marketing ensuring the Chicago Fire remains connected with important initiatives and partnerships at the league level.

Individuals applying for this position should have over seven years of experience in brand and/or sports franchise marketing environment with ticket/revenue generating orientation. They must also have experience creating and executing marketing and promotions plans aimed at generating/increasing revenues through ticket sales, partnerships and implementing fan-based engagement strategies. In addition, candidates should have knowledge of professional sports event marketing and branding, specific knowledge of soccer/MLS/Chicago market a plus.  TurnkeyZRG also notes that they are seeking a collaborative and visionary marketing leader with experience within progressive organizations. 

They should be an inspirational team leader who is able to build, motivate, and retain a high-performance team, clearly communicate goals and hold teams accountable through support and milestones. Candidates must also have the ability to lead cross functional teams and get work done through others.  

Related: TurnkeyZRG Assists University of Wisconsin Recruit Head Soccer Coach

Chicago Fire Football Club is Chicago’s Major League Soccer team that was founded in 1997 and is Chicago’s “portal” to the global sport of soccer. The club recently returned to Soldier Field as well as opened a new 50,000 square foot office in downtown Chicago.

Sports, Media and Entertainment Consultants

Founded in 1996, TurnkeyZRG is a specialized talent recruitment/executive search firm filling C-level, senior-level and mid-management-level positions throughout sports, media and entertainment. Over the past 25 years, the firm has filled more than 1,400 positions. TurnkeyZRG helps teams, leagues, stadiums, arenas, theaters, college athletic departments, events, sponsors, agencies, media companies, private equity companies and other clients identify, recruit, and hire the best management talent.

Collectively, the members of TurnkeyZRG have placed coaches and athletics directors at many PAC-12 universities, including Arizona, Cal, UCLA, USC, Utah, Washington, and Washington State. Late last year, TurnkeyZRG helped the ACC hire its next commissioner, James J. Phillips, the Combe Family vice president for athletics and recreation at Northwestern University. TurnkeyZRG spoke with stakeholders across the ACC in developing the job description, and assembled a diverse array of candidates across sports, education, business, and government.

TurnkeyZRG Recruits CEO for the United States Soccer Federation
TurnkeyZRG has assisted in the recruitment of former media, advertising, and technology executive J.T. Batson as the new CEO of the United States Soccer Federation, the national governing body for the sport of soccer. Current CEO Will Wilson announced he will be stepping down at the end of October to pursue new professional ventures and opportunities. “JT is uniquely qualified for this position as a person who has vast experience working with large, complex organizations as well as an understanding of the intricate workings of modern business,” said Cindy Parlow Cone, president of U.S. Soccer. “He also has a passion for soccer born out playing and growing up in a generation that saw a massive growth of the sport in the U.S. His energy, leadership, creative thinking and personal connection to seeing U.S. Soccer and the sport thrive will be a huge positive for the future of our federation overall.”

Len Perna is the founder, chairman, and CEO of Turnkey. He has 30-plus years’ experience in the sports and entertainment industry, with senior-level management experience in sales, event marketing and management, sponsorships, venue feasibility and development, facility operations, licensing, and legal affairs. Since founding Turnkey, Mr. Perna has managed over 1,400 executive searches.

Ms. Crone joined TurnkeyZRG in 2018 and currently serves as vice president, leading the firm’s marketing & communications practice. While at TurnkeyZRG, she has led dozens of executive level searches including chief marketing officer of the Kansas City Chiefs, San Francisco 49ers, Ilitch Holdings (Detroit Tigers & Red Wings), and Comcast Spectacor (Philadelphia Flyers), as well chief communications officer for the U.S. Olympic, and vice president of communications for the Portland Trailblazers and Philadelphia Flyers. Within the marketing function, she has also led searches in live entertainment & game presentation, digital marketing, content, and social media.

Related: TurnkeyZRG Recruits New Leader for the Fiesta Bowl

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Executive Editor; Lily Fauver, Senior Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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