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New formula to Chicago's Toyota Park deal
by Ridge Mahoney, September 11th, 2007 7AM



Along with the usually fluffy quotes from team and league executives, the press release officially announcing the purchase of the Chicago Fire by Andell Holdings from AEG also contained this:

"Village of Bridgeview Mayor Steven Landek noted: 'We are very excited to have Andrew Hauptman and Andell as the new owner of the Chicago Fire. Over the last several weeks, I've had the pleasure of sitting down with the Andell team several times and I believe they will bring a new level of focus, excitement and winning spirit to the Fire and Toyota Park.'"

As a condition of the purchase, AEG has relinquished all interest in the stadium as well as the team, and the financial formula under which the team's ownership and the Village of Bridgeview operate has been revised.

According to a source, who would not reveal figures, Bridgeview receives a larger guarantee under the new formula to compensate for its investment in the project. The village owns the stadium and Andell has taken over operations from AEG.

Being released from AEG control will also allow Toyota Park to host concerts by artists not affiliated with AEG Live!, which has grown to one of the largest concert and event promoters in the country, along with Live Nation, Inc. and others. The source says Bridgeview officials had not been pleased about being restricted to AEG properties and with the financial arrangements.

Toyota Park has hosted concerts, an exhibition rugby match between the USA and Irish club Munster that drew about 8,000 fans in July and a wedding. Officials are discussing hosting high school football and are planning six to eight concerts a year in addition to soccer games and other events.

A crowd of 2,300 turned out Saturday to watch a Brazil training session at a cost of $20 a person. For a low-risk, low-maintenance event, that's not a bad take.

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