A message for Chicago Bears season ticket holders arrived in my dad’s inbox the other day with a reminder that the renewal and payment deadline is March 22.
In a personalized email addressed to “Mr. Sullivan,” Bears President and CEO Kevin Warren began by thanking him for his support, noting that Warren and season ticket holders “share the same passion and the same enthusiasm to bring a Super Bowl victory to the Chicagoland area, as well as a new world. Top class fixed roof stadium.
It was a little confusing, as my father had never mentioned his passion for creating a new world-class fixed-roof stadium and had no confidence in the current owners that would bring another Super Bowl to the area of Chicagoland, let alone in Chicago itself.
Anyway, back to the letter. Warren cited the “proven additional leadership” with the recent hiring of offensive coordinator Shane Waldron and defensive coordinator Eric Washington and named two “transformational” players who “galvanized our team” in DJ Moore and Montez Sweat.
There was no mention of Justin Fields, who plays the only position that matters to my father, who has held season tickets since Jack Concannon was the starting quarterback. He’s seen a lot of Bears quarterbacks and is still waiting for one other than Jim McMahon who he believes can throw a football with accuracy.
Warren was probably trying to avoid the only topic of conversation allowed on Chicago sports radio: “Keep Justin Fields or draft Caleb Williams?” » – and he didn’t want anyone to read anything into his carefully chosen words. Understandable. This long-running drama is expected to run through the first day of the NFL Draft on April 25, a month after the ticket renewal deadline.
Why say something nice about Fields if he might lose his job?
Aside from the quarterback situation, the Bears’ future was exciting to think about, Warren informed season ticket holders, “with solid draft capital (including two top-10 picks) and a healthy salary cap.” This suggested to my father that the Bears were planning to “outplay” the Lions, an alien concept to be sure, but one that rings true after Detroit’s sudden success with the right picks, signings, acquisitions and coaches.
“We can be Detroit,” he said for the first time in his life.
It wasn’t until the letter’s ninth paragraph that Warren finally got to the point: After months of evaluating season ticket prices and “market considerations that factor into our business decisions,” the Bears decided that ticket prices would increase by 8%. This was done, Warren said, after “careful thought and analysis.”
That seems like a significant jump for a 7-10 team that finished at the bottom of the NFC North and doesn’t know who its starting quarterback will be in 2024. But Warren explained that there would be “improvements in the ‘match day experience’. following what he said, these were improvements made last season in terms of food and drink and access to the stadium.
“We will address the holistic fan experience this offseason as we evaluate our retail and concession operators,” he added.
Holistic? Does this mean better food options? Concession lines that don’t accidentally merge with the restroom line and cause congestion in the lobby? Real lids for a soft drink?
Count on us.
Warren ended his message to paying customers by revealing that the organization was “making progress on our stadium development plan” and that they would be sure to let us know when their “deliberate and intentional process” led to a new venue.
Hmm. The Bears stadium saga has already lasted longer than the Matt Nagy era. The White Sox released their renderings of a proposed South Loop stadium on Wednesday, just three weeks after breaking news of talks with a developer for “the 78.” Perhaps the Sox could lend the Bears their new ballpark advisor to teach them Chicago’s favorite way of winning fan support and public funding: whet their appetite, get approval, then present them with the bill.
Stadium and quarterback situations aside, the Bears were headed to the top, Warren assured us, and it was thanks to season ticket holders like my dad.
“We will build a team together for the World Championship,” he wrote.
There was no mention of any member of the McCaskeys, the family that owns the Bears, an omission that struck us as curious.
We still have the “thank you” letter sent to the “dear season ticket subscriber” on February 25, 1994, when President Michael McCaskey wrote about the “new era with Dave Wannstedt and his coaching staff; many exciting victories await us. Thirty years later, it’s a new era with the same owners and an overly optimistic sales pitch.
Warren made writing business letters an art form, and by the end we were galvanized to renew ourselves.
“Push!” he writes in conclusion.
Kevin, you put us at “strong draft capital”. The check is in the mail.
As for the invitation to help you and general manager Ryan Poles build the team, my dad has plenty of suggestions. After watching another Bears-less Super Bowl in his comfy chair on Sunday, he’ll send you an email with “deep thought and analysis” on the Bears’ coaching and play-calling, what to do with the No. 1 and how to make bathroom lines move faster at Soldier Field.
Take your time before coming back to him.
You have until April 24.
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