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Bears keep stadium focus on lakefront despite Springfield funding shutout
...

As the Chicago Bears gear up this summer for their upcoming season on the field, they’ll be refining their business pitch off the field after state lawmakers concluded their spring legislative session this week without acting on the team’s request for public dollars to help build a new lakefront stadium.

That pushes their drive for a dome to the fall veto session.

...

Despite an equally cool reception from lawmakers this year, team officials insisted they’re still making forward progress — and their full focus remains on building a new stadium just south of Soldier Field.

“We continue to have productive conversations since we unveiled our vision to invest more than $2 billion of private money to a new, publicly owned enclosed stadium which will create 43,000 construction jobs and more than 4,000 permanent jobs,” a team spokesman said in an email. “We look forward to continuing to meet with elected officials, community leaders, business leaders, residents and fans to collaborate on ways to make this massive economic development project for Illinois a reality.”

Sources close to the Bears’ Springfield lobbying effort said they weren’t expecting lawmakers to move a funding bill during the hectic final weeks of session in which lawmakers hammered out a $53.1 billion state budget. Instead, they were focused on talks with leaders “to continue refining” their proposal, sources said.

And while Bears president Kevin Warren said “time is money” while pushing for legislative help during his public pitch in April, the team thinks there’s still plenty left on the clock to keep the proposal viable.

Bears executives have said they need the state to issue $1.2 billion in new bonds, backed by the 2% city hotel tax used to build Guaranteed Rate Field and renovate Soldier Field, to cover $900 million in stadium costs, plus a reserve fund protecting against dips in hotel revenue.

No such bills have been introduced — and the team hasn’t yet formally asked for any from legislative leaders who have thrown cold water on their stadium vision for months.
...

State Sen. Robert Peters, the South Side Democrat whose district includes Soldier Field, said the Bears “did a much better job than last year” by virtue of committing $2 billion of their own money for the project.

But he’s skeptical of any movement when lawmakers kick off the veto session, particularly for up to $1.5 billion the Bears are seeking for infrastructure upgrades around the Museum Campus. The team says it needs at least $325 million, for a minimum total public ask of $1.2 billion.

“There were broad conversations around funding infrastructure, but their people could tell the appetite for that is basically nonexistent,” Peters said. “There’s no interest in giving billionaires a free stadium development, and if anything’s going to happen with bonding, it has to be done with equity.”

He echoed calls from Pritzker and the Illinois House Democratic Women’s Caucus to include the Red Stars, Sky and other professional women’s teams in stadium funding talks.

Northwest Side state Rep. Eva-Dina Delgado, D-Chicago, introduced a bill that would require state officials to issue bonds for women’s professional sports facilities whenever bonds are issued for men’s facilities.
...

Full article: https://chicago.suntimes.com/bears/bear ... l-assembly
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Xee
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Wherever this gets built, it's not going to be soon like Warren has been promising.
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Xee wrote: Sun Jun 02, 2024 12:02 pm Wherever this gets built, it's not going to be soon like Warren has been promising.
I figure there will be at least another full year, maybe more, of political fighting about the location and cost before any actual plan is ever put in place so I don't know how any promises of a speedy resolution can be made
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Boris13c wrote: Sun Jun 02, 2024 12:14 pm
Xee wrote: Sun Jun 02, 2024 12:02 pm Wherever this gets built, it's not going to be soon like Warren has been promising.
I figure there will be at least another full year, maybe more, of political fighting about the location and cost before any actual plan is ever put in place so I don't know how any promises of a speedy resolution can be made
Maybe that's why they had a pastor at the announcement? Didn't seem to work.
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Xee wrote: Sun Jun 02, 2024 12:23 pm
Boris13c wrote: Sun Jun 02, 2024 12:14 pm

I figure there will be at least another full year, maybe more, of political fighting about the location and cost before any actual plan is ever put in place so I don't know how any promises of a speedy resolution can be made
Maybe that's why they had a pastor at the announcement? Didn't seem to work.
Now that you mention a pastor....

I do think the Bears could benefit from some kind of an exorcism at both Halas Hall and Soldier Field.
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Another NFL city and another stadium proposal:
Panthers, city seek $800M stadium renovation deal to keep team in Charlotte for 20 years

The Carolina Panthers and the City of Charlotte have proposed a partnership deal that would include an $800 million renovation to Bank of America Stadium and keep the NFL team here for 20 years.

The renovation would include a fixed $650 million investment from the city and another $150 million from Panthers owner David Tepper.

Tepper has already invested more than $117 million in the stadium prior to June and would also pay another $421 million in potential overages for capital improvements over the term of the deal, the team said Monday in a news release.

The city's investment does not require any new or increased taxes.
...

The city's share would be funded by existing hospitality and tourism tax resources, which are legally required by the state to be spent on projects to support the city's tourism economy.
...

Bank of America Stadium opened in 1996.

The enhancements will include upgraded video and audio systems, modernized infrastructure, redesigned concourses, unique social areas with skyline views, and exterior spaces for community gatherings and programming.
...

The south lawn pavilion area would be reimagined as a community gathering spot and outdoor classroom on game days and non-event days.
...

Full article: https://www.nfl.com/news/panthers-city- ... r-20-years
$650m of public money to $150m of team money makes the Bears offer seem generous by comparison.
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Illinois House Speaker Emanuel Welch appeared to put a nail in the coffin of the Bears receiving state funding now and into the future, saying the state has too many competing needs which will take precedence over pro sports stadiums. He said this was a tough budget year and so will next year:

https://www.sportsmockery.com/chicago-b ... ium-money/

So, the team can push for funds from Chicago and fight Friends of the Park for a lakefront deal or look again at AH. Nothing has been said to this point (that I've read) indicating what public funding the team would seek for an AH stadium. It's possible with the amount of land available, developers could put up enough monies to negate the need for public funding with the Bears kicking in their $2B.
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Kevin Warren underestimated the difficulty in doing business in Illinois. He needs to re-think "deal making" and how can he garner support for the stadium from not only the Governor, but also the downstate legislative members.

When the team re-built Soldier Field - it was no coincidence that they played a season in downstate Champaign or moved Training Camp from Platteville to Bourbonnais (which was then Gov George Ryan's stomping grounds). Illinois is a three way-fractured state (City, Suburbs and Downstate) and he only has support from one of the three right now.

Warren needs to be creative in how he bring value to areas other than downtown Chicago and thus secure the broad package of votes he needs to build the stadium. Do you offer Training Camp to Naperville or Oak Brook? Do you offer a preseason game every year to a rotation of Bloomington/Normal, Champaign, Springfield and Peoria? What can you do to garner up broad support for this project? Just getting the City on board isn't going to do it if you need State funding.

BTW, Emanuel Welch is a Suburban member of the House (from Westchester near me) ....just say Training Camp is in Oak Brook, next door to Westchester ... and his local hotels and restaurants fill up .... would he feel differently?

As they say, ALL politics are local. Especially in Illinois.
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I get what you're saying Wulfy, and there is certainly some truth & wisdom to it.

But I don't think there's just 1-2 key players Warren needs to win over - I think the overwhelming majority of IL politicians are firmly against it and I don't think he has anywhere near enough "kickback & favors" at his disposal to pass around to pacify everyone.
For that matter, I'm pretty skeptical that there's any kind of graft or favor or angle he can offer that's going to sell Gov Pritzker on kicking in any more than a tiny sliver.
And pulling off an end around where he has such overwhelming support that it doesn't matter what Pritzker thinks? Have fun with that.

I don't think their pleas or demands for handouts are going anywhere, unless they decide to gamble on sitting tight for years and waiting for different leadership and a different economic climate.
(And, as I've mentioned before, sitting and doing nothing isn't cheap. The Bears are paying millions in annual taxes on the empty Arlington land. And Warren himself was quoted as saying every year in construction delay drives the cost up by (something major like) $100M(?), because construction costs are outpacing general inflation right now.)
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I guess this is why I see AH as the better option. Selling off parcels of land or renting for/to future business is a way to recoup some $. Maybe not as much as they need, but it would be a start. GEt your plans for that stadium, figure out the plan for the rest of the parcels and set yourself up a little Bearsville similar to Wrigleyville.
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Moriarty wrote: Wed Jun 05, 2024 1:40 pm I get what you're saying Wulfy, and there is certainly some truth & wisdom to it.

But I don't think there's just 1-2 key players Warren needs to win over - I think the overwhelming majority of IL politicians are firmly against it and I don't think he has anywhere near enough "kickback & favors" at his disposal to pass around to pacify everyone.
For that matter, I'm pretty skeptical that there's any kind of graft or favor or angle he can offer that's going to sell Gov Pritzker on kicking in any more than a tiny sliver.
And pulling off an end around where he has such overwhelming support that it doesn't matter what Pritzker thinks? Have fun with that.

I don't think their pleas or demands for handouts are going anywhere, unless they decide to gamble on sitting tight for years and waiting for different leadership and a different economic climate.
(And, as I've mentioned before, sitting and doing nothing isn't cheap. The Bears are paying millions in annual taxes on the empty Arlington land. And Warren himself was quoted as saying every year in construction delay drives the cost up by (something major like) $100M(?), because construction costs are outpacing general inflation right now.)

Everything you say, Moriarty is fair. And accurate. It was a different world/political climate when you had Big Jim Thompson and George Ryan cutting back room deals to get things done for the White Sox and the Bears. And the threat to move the Bears out of Illinois is hollow (not that Warren is even suggesting that), but last time through you had Mike McCaskey scouting land in Gary, Indiana for "Planet Park"

I'm not sure a political (and economic) climate can ever be enough to force this over the line. Illinois will not elect a Republican controlled house, senate or executive branch for a very long time and it would probably take that kind of seismic shift.
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I don't expect Warren and the Bears to give up on a Lakefront stadium so easily. Not when the vision is to build a world class venue in a world class location.
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wulfy wrote: Wed Jun 05, 2024 2:48 pm
Moriarty wrote: Wed Jun 05, 2024 1:40 pm I get what you're saying Wulfy, and there is certainly some truth & wisdom to it.

But I don't think there's just 1-2 key players Warren needs to win over - I think the overwhelming majority of IL politicians are firmly against it and I don't think he has anywhere near enough "kickback & favors" at his disposal to pass around to pacify everyone.
For that matter, I'm pretty skeptical that there's any kind of graft or favor or angle he can offer that's going to sell Gov Pritzker on kicking in any more than a tiny sliver.
And pulling off an end around where he has such overwhelming support that it doesn't matter what Pritzker thinks? Have fun with that.

I don't think their pleas or demands for handouts are going anywhere, unless they decide to gamble on sitting tight for years and waiting for different leadership and a different economic climate.
(And, as I've mentioned before, sitting and doing nothing isn't cheap. The Bears are paying millions in annual taxes on the empty Arlington land. And Warren himself was quoted as saying every year in construction delay drives the cost up by (something major like) $100M(?), because construction costs are outpacing general inflation right now.)

Everything you say, Moriarty is fair. And accurate. It was a different world/political climate when you had Big Jim Thompson and George Ryan cutting back room deals to get things done for the White Sox and the Bears. And the threat to move the Bears out of Illinois is hollow (not that Warren is even suggesting that), but last time through you had Mike McCaskey scouting land in Gary, Indiana for "Planet Park"

I'm not sure a political (and economic) climate can ever be enough to force this over the line. Illinois will not elect a Republican controlled house, senate or executive branch for a very long time and it would probably take that kind of seismic shift.
I see that Planet Park will have a 9 hole golf course. I always thought that some casino should have a 7-hole course that all the holes are par 3. Call the course “Lucky 21.”
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Hell with a Lakefront stadium. Go big. Build a floating stadium on the lake itself. No one's done that yet.
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Bearfacts wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 6:52 pm Hell with a Lakefront stadium. Go big. Build a floating stadium on the lake itself. No one's done that yet.

I like where this thought process is going

https://www.viator.com/tours/Rome/Piazz ... 11-56879P1


Let's deliberately build an entire stadium underground!
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Moriarty wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 7:07 pm
Bearfacts wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 6:52 pm Hell with a Lakefront stadium. Go big. Build a floating stadium on the lake itself. No one's done that yet.

I like where this thought process is going

https://www.viator.com/tours/Rome/Piazz ... 11-56879P1


Let's deliberately build an entire stadium underground!
They can call it "The Bear Cave" or "The Bears Den".
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What about in space? Like on the Moon?

Seriously, build the stadium on the Dark Side Of The Moon.

It takes about 3 days to get from the Earth to the Moon. That's about the same commute time from the suburbs into Chicago anyway.

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The Marshall Plan wrote: Wed Jun 12, 2024 3:37 am What about in space? Like on the Moon?

Seriously, build the stadium on the Dark Side Of The Moon.

It takes about 3 days to get from the Earth to the Moon. That's about the same commute time from the suburbs into Chicago anyway.

Imagine how far Jarron Gilbert could jump out of a pool if he lived on the moon!

I think the NFL would be thrilled - Goodell loves international games.
Last edited by LacertineForest on Wed Jun 12, 2024 10:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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LacertineForest wrote: Wed Jun 12, 2024 7:55 am
The Marshall Plan wrote: Wed Jun 12, 2024 3:37 am What about in space? Like on the Moon?

Seriously, build the stadium on the Dark Side Of The Moon.

It takes about 3 days to get from the Earth to the Moon. That's about the same commute time from the suburbs into Chicago anyway.

Imagine how far Jarron Gilbert could jump out of a pool if he lived on the moon!

I think the NFL would be thrilled - Goodell lives international games.
Gilbert would be Michael Strahan on the Moon.
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..and nowhere else..
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Bearfacts wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 6:52 pm Hell with a Lakefront stadium. Go big. Build a floating stadium on the lake itself. No one's done that yet.
If far enough offshore, would gambling be legal?
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Grizzled wrote: Thu Jun 13, 2024 3:38 pm
Bearfacts wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 6:52 pm Hell with a Lakefront stadium. Go big. Build a floating stadium on the lake itself. No one's done that yet.
If far enough offshore, would gambling be legal?
Oh, of course and can you imagine the views of the skyline from a mile offshore?
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Warren has said the team is not going to sell a minority stake to raise more funds for a stadium. He also said that the team is not selling AH (at least now).
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Grizzled wrote: Thu Jun 13, 2024 3:38 pm
Bearfacts wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 6:52 pm Hell with a Lakefront stadium. Go big. Build a floating stadium on the lake itself. No one's done that yet.
If far enough offshore, would gambling be legal?
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The Marshall Plan wrote: Wed Jun 12, 2024 3:37 am What about in space? Like on the Moon?

Seriously, build the stadium on the Dark Side Of The Moon.

It takes about 3 days to get from the Earth to the Moon. That's about the same commute time from the suburbs into Chicago anyway.

The moon!?!??! That's just dumb. The players would lose muscle mass from being there half the time. Other teams would come in and be stronger for that reason and shove us around. Rather than the location giving us an advantage, it would work against us. If you are going off planet, Jupiter would be the right call. Gravitational pull is much stronger, so our players would get stronger and the opposing team would feel super weak.

Now an underwater glass dome stadium might be the best call of them all.
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Rusty Trombagent wrote: Fri Jun 14, 2024 8:54 am
Grizzled wrote: Thu Jun 13, 2024 3:38 pm

If far enough offshore, would gambling be legal?
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