The Chicago Bears will remain at Soldier Fields for at least the next few years. However, it’s becoming more evident by the day that their time in the stadium is winding down. The McCaskey family is closing on a deal for the Arlington Park property in the northwest suburbs. Once done, they will own 326 acres of land. That is more than enough to construct a new stadium and a surrounding village of restaurants, hotels, and other revenue-producing streams.
As always, paying for these things will be difficult. New stadiums cost, on average, between $2-3 billion these days. With the state of Illinois sure to resist allowing public money to help fund the venture, the organization will have to find other ways to pull in cash. One method that has become almost standard procedure in today’s sporting landscape is stadium naming rights. A franchise makes a deal with a business company that wishes to put its brand name on a stadium. They can be pretty lucrative. A team’s average revenue per year with such deals is around $7 million.
From a business perspective, it feels like a no-brainer.
Fans aren’t wild about it, though. Many stadiums around the NFL have pretty ugly names. FirstEnergy Stadium? Sports Authority Field? Levi’s Stadium? Gross. Chicago isn’t immune to this, either. The White Sox play at Guaranteed Rate Field. It is a constant source of ridicule for that team. Bears fans fear the same is coming for them. That didn’t stop one of them from asking for possible names on Reddit. The suggestions didn’t disappoint.
- Portillo’s Stadium
- Xfinity Field
- Binny’s Beverage Depot Field
- BetRivers Stadium
- Victory Auto Wreckers Field
- The Cresco Bowl
- Sears Field
- Joe’s Crabshack Stadium
- Malort of the Midway
Chicago Bears are hoping to reach a compromise on this.
Rumors over the past few months suggest the McCaskey family may hope to separate the names involved. In other words, the field will be named one thing while the stadium is named another. Jim O’Donnell of the Daily Herald mentioned last year that ownership might be angling to name the building George S. Halas Stadium. That would be the ultimate tribute to the founder of the franchise by his daughter Virginia.
One way to appease fans is by using that name but giving the field’s name to a corporate sponsor. Thus it could be something like McDonald’s Field at George S. Halas Stadium. Or vice versa. Look at the Kansas City Chiefs. They didn’t want to rename Arrowhead Stadium, so they gave the naming rights of the field to the Government Employees Health Association (or GEHA). The Chicago Bears can do something similar.
It will be interesting to see how they approach this. The subject won’t be discussed until plans for the stadium’s construction begins. Will the team make a deal with a local business or opt for something national, given their large fanbase. Seeing how the McCaskeys have operated for years, the former feels like the more realistic option. So Bears Reddit was on the right track with their suggestions.