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White Sox make their pitch (Updated x2)

Tuesday, Feb 20, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Justin Laurence at Crain’s

To pay for the new Sox stadium, Reinsdorf is seeking to lay claim to the revenue from a 2% hotel occupancy tax, currently used to pay for ISFA’s annual debt service, for decades beyond when all outstanding bonds are currently meant to be paid off in 2034. […]

Reinsdorf is also seeking to create a tax-overlay district surrounding the proposed stadium that would capture the state’s portion of sales taxes generated in the area — estimated at roughly $400 million over an undisclosed period — to be set aside to subsidize the stadium and back the new bonds. […]

Adding the sales tax revenue to the pot would also allow ISFA to borrow more money, which a source familiar with the bonding plan said would get into the “ballpark” of the roughly $1.2 billion in assistance that Reinsdorf is seeking in order to build a park with a capacity to hold between 35,000 to 38,000 people and retire the current ISFA debt. […]

Currently, Related Midwest would pay the upfront costs to build a new $364 million CTA Red Line stop, the $85 million realignment of Metra tracks running through the site, and $102 million towards various street improvements and reconstructing the riverfront seawall. As incremental revenue flows into the TIF district, the city would repay Related for the infrastructure costs.

* Meanwhile…



* NBC 5

White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf will meet with legislative leaders in Springfield on Tuesday as he attempts to secure public funding to construct a new stadium, according to multiple sources.

Multiple sources told NBC Chicago that Democratic and Republican leaders will sit down with Reinsdorf as he seeks $1 billion in public funding for a new White Sox Stadium near the South Loop.

…Adding… NBC Sports Chicago

“We recognize discussions about The 78 serving as the future home of the Chicago White Sox have generated a lot of excitement over the potential of the larger project’s positive economic impact,” the [White Sox] statement says. “We are mindful and respectful of the legislative process and wanted to travel to Springfield to meet personally with legislative leaders. We’re excited to share our vision, and we appreciate their time and hospitality.”

Another statement followed from a Related Midwest Spokesperson.

“We appreciated the time afforded to us by lawmakers in Springfield today,” the statement says. “As we shared in the meetings, The 78 is a generational development and an investment in our hometown. It’s personal to us and we are excited about the prospect of delivering the city’s next great neighborhood, while making an historic economic investment that will bring over 10,000 construction jobs and 22,000 permanent jobs to our city and state. The long-term impact will be transformative – creating a new riverfront neighborhood anchored by a state-of-the-art ballpark for generations of fans to enjoy and help enhance Chicago’s place as a top destination.”

…Adding… Speaker Welch…

“I want to thank Jerry Reinsdorf for coming down to discuss his vision in person. There are a lot of conversations that still need to be had, but I appreciate the opportunity to discuss future goals for Chicago teams.”

       

41 Comments
  1. - Dan Johnson - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 7:45 am:

    We have the highest hotel taxes in the country. That hurts much bigger industries (conventions and tourism) than the McCaskey family and the Reinsdorf group of rich investors. Let the hotel tax expire instead on schedule.


  2. - Roadrager - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 7:53 am:

    To quote Bob Uecker, who is the sort of broadcaster Jerry abhors having in his team’s booth, “Get up, get out of here, (hopefully) gone.”

    The miserable Ricketts family was told to pay for it all themselves by a Cubs fan mayor. Now they own multiple square blocks around their money printer of the park, and little Tommy was still crying yesterday about how he just can’t afford to build a contender. Anyone who thinks Jerry or his son will magically loosen the purse strings once they get $1.5bn in free taxpayer money for a new park needs to cancel their season tickets and use that money to invest in my monorail instead.


  3. - Bluesman2383 - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 7:55 am:

    Reinsdorf doesn’t have Madigan in the State House anymore to pull off a “midnight miracle” to pull off a stadium this time.

    Don’t give the Sox a dime. If Reinsdorf wants a new stadium, he’s rich enough. He can pay for it. He owns how many pro sports teams, receives a ton in tv/radio rights. No more public funding for pro sports, period. Do they fill the current stadium? Genuine question. I don’t think they do.


  4. - Hank Sauer - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 7:59 am:

    Call his bluff and say no. Nashville doesn’t want the Sox , they want an expansion team which they are in line for


  5. - Gravitas - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 8:05 am:

    Dear General Assembly:

    Listen politely and, afterwards, just say “No.”

    Omitted from Reinsdorf’s pitch is any explanation as to what the ISFA will do with Guaranteed Rate Field which would become a white elephant if this new scheme proceeds.

    How many other stadiums are considered to be obsolete after only 33 years? The reality is that the Sox need to put a winning team on the field. The lousy attendance has more to do with the team losing 101 games on the field than the age or location of the facility.


  6. - Arsenal - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 8:06 am:

    It’s wild that Chicago’s two most lost franchises are trying to get public money right now.


  7. - TJ - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 8:13 am:

    Reinsdorf is an American hero. He found a way to unite Chicago Democrats and downstate Republicans in common cause against an utterly ridiculous graft.


  8. - Skeptic - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 8:31 am:

    I say, and I cannot say this loud enough, “No.”


  9. - Rahm's Parking Meter - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 8:41 am:

    Pay for it Jerry. Pay for it, McCaskeys. That is it.


  10. - Macon Bakin - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 8:42 am:

    Silly proposal, that said the red line station at 18th would be great.


  11. - Macon Bakin - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 8:43 am:

    18th rather.


  12. - Macon Bakin - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 8:43 am:

    16 rather!


  13. - hisgirlfriday - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 8:55 am:

    Just curious… any other billionaire sports team owners in America who successfully got more than one taxpayer-funded stadium during their lifetime?

    I hate that they are even sitting down to talk to Reinsdorf.


  14. - Ryan - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 9:00 am:

    No to the White Sox, no to the Bears, no to any sports team, or any business for that matter, wanting a hand out. You’re a business, you take the risk, that’s capitalism.


  15. - Chicagonk - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 9:03 am:

    There is already a TIF in place which is a $500M subsidy. If Reinsdorf doesn’t have the money, he should bring in outside partners. It’s a great project when combined with the 78 and there should be significant interest.


  16. - Unionman - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 9:08 am:

    Jerry your teams don’t win anyway and your attendance is poor already (not sure how a new stadium will fix that), drop your payroll to the league minimum for several years, and use those funds to build yourself a new ballpark.
    Or even better yet, sell the team and the State should direct the taxes earned from the sale to the construction of a new stadium.


  17. - Baseball - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 9:08 am:

    35-38K capacity for a baseball stadium seems very small. What am I missing?


  18. - lake county democrat - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 9:09 am:

    I’m not against public funds being used to help build a stadium per-se, but…

    1) I need an independent analysis showing a net benefit to the public in a reasonable period of time

    2) I will NEVER forget that that Reinsorf has admitted he plays for 2nd place in a cynical move to keep the fans interested while avoiding paying top dollar. As long as the Sox are the main (only?) beneficiary of the new stadium, that gets thrown in the calculus.


  19. - Chambanalyst - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 9:09 am:

    The Bears have a passionate and committed fanbase. They keep showing up no matter how many times the Bears break their hearts. You might be able to convince me of the economic benefit for a new NFL stadium. The White Sox on the other hand? They are a complete joke. They are better off relocating to another city than trying to get another stadium in Chicago. Baseball’s days are numbered and the city simply can’t support 2 teams anymore.


  20. - lake county democrat - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 9:10 am:

    Baseball - PNC park in Pittsburgh (which is beautiful btw) has a capacity of 38,000 and I think the new Vegas stadium is similar - it creates an intimate feel and those other seats are rarely filled.


  21. - vern - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 9:12 am:

    I’m not in favor of public funding for stadiums, so I hope this doesn’t end up happening. But Reinsdorf gets a mild golf clap for running the numbers, putting a plan on paper, and going to Springfield himself to ask. The McCaskeys and Kevin Warren must be so confused watching someone do the absolute minimum.


  22. - James the Intolerant - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 9:19 am:

    Ze ro


  23. - Henry Francis - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 9:23 am:

    I don’t know what leverage Jerry has here. I can’t see him moving the team. Given this stage of his life you would think he is in legacy-mode. If he were to move the Sox out of Chicago, he would be reviled, and no one would care about the 7 championships his teams have won in Chicago.


  24. - Nerry - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 9:26 am:

    No Welfare for the Wealthy!


  25. - Bogey Golfer - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 9:42 am:

    What I don’t get with the Proposal is that with the Sox fan base is predominately in the West to South Suburbs, where are we to park given they are creating a 4000 space garage? If you think we are taking the Red Line, think again. The current location, while not pretty, works. I can get to G-Rate in 1/2 hour.


  26. - Life long Independent - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 9:44 am:

    I have season tickets and could care less if they move the product on the field is a joke. My vote is a big NO


  27. - Jerry - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 10:06 am:

    That was me at 926am.


  28. - Keyrock - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 10:25 am:

    I’d like to see a detailed piece in the next few days on who is supporting this project. Other than the developer and Jerry, does it have any political support? Business support?

    It’s unlikely to get much taxpayer/voter support.


  29. - 2 card monty - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 10:30 am:

    Remember this request for $1.2 billion in public money next time you see PR about all the philanthropy

    https://www.mlb.com/whitesox/charities

    $40 million in charitable donations over 30+ years, sweet ROI


  30. - low level - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 10:44 am:

    ==What I don’t get with the Proposal is that with the Sox fan base is predominately in the West to South Suburbs, where are we to park given they are creating a 4000 space garage? If you think we are taking the Red Line, think again.==

    Thank you for that comment. Some seem to think that if you dont provide parking that people will just take METRA or other public transportation. Not very likely.

    What is likely is they would still drive but look for parking in the residential neighborhoods surrounding 78.


  31. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 11:08 am:

    It might be a different ballgame public funding wise if the Sox were a winning team, but they’re not. What evidence has Reinsdorf shown that it would be different? The 78 is a great location, for a franchise committed to winning.


  32. - Chicago Blue - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 11:13 am:

    Stadiums paid for with public financing never work out. They do nothing but subsidize billionaires. Good luck with the move to Nashville, Jerry. (And I say that as a Bulls ticket season holder that has seen prices continue to skyrocket and services/perks plummet despite the mediocrity.)


  33. - low level - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 11:17 am:

    ==It might be a different ballgame public funding wise if the Sox were a winning team==

    Not only not a winning team but one that is seemingly clueless. Case in point: hiring Tony LaRussa. Dumb.


  34. - Phineas - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 12:27 pm:

    Just a reminder that blocking a Bears domed stadium has always been in the interests of the United Center owners, including (checks notes) Mr. Reinsdorf.

    I love the design but am hugely skeptical that the extra $1B generates an attractive return - especially since it’s just going to move a lot of the economic activity twenty blocks north.


  35. - granville - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 12:40 pm:

    As a resident of the South Loop I cannot wait to divert the cost of my cancelled season tickets for the Bulls to funding opposition to this.


  36. - Former State Worker - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 1:23 pm:

    Tell him no. There are very few markets that are viable for MLB, and Nashville is already in line for an expansion team. The value of the franchise will go down if they leave Chicago.

    The White Sox have been able to survive for 125 years at the same location, and the state already paid for a brand-new stadium 35+ years ago. If the White Sox can get this done with private financing, then it wasn’t meant to be.

    The Baltimore Orioles just sold for $1.7 billion, and that includes Camden Yards as well as the tv network. Asking the state for $1 billion is absurd.


  37. - Jibba - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 2:00 pm:

    Didn’t I buy you a new cell phone last year, Junior? “No” is a complete sentence.


  38. - Chicago 20 - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 2:54 pm:

    - “Let the hotel tax expire instead on schedule.”
    Hope springs eternal!
    Closer to the truth is hotel tax eternal.


  39. - Pundent - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 3:05 pm:

    Thirty or so years ago, when “new” Comiskey Park opened, I attended 15-20 games a year. I did that for several years. Now I might make it to a couple of games a season. Because a lot has changed over the years. Tickets that were once less than $10 are $40 once fees are tacked on. And tiered pricing means that I’ll pay even more depending on who they’re playing. Parking is now $30, a beer cost $10, a hot dog $5. For a family of 4 that’s north of $250. And the games I used to watch for free on tv now require a cable subscription which this cord cutter can’t justify. And with plenty of other reasonable entertainment options I don’t miss it.

    In short baseball has become a game for wealthy attendees and corporations, not families.

    So when Reinsdorf, or the McCaskey family for that matter, shows up looking for a hand-out from the taxpayers it’s a hard no for me.


  40. - Friendly Bob Adams - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 3:07 pm:

    As a Sox fan, I would love to see Reinsdorf go.


  41. - Original Rambler - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 3:28 pm:

    Initial response should be to request the WS financials from the past 33 years to be able to put a number to how generous was Thompson to the Reinsdorf family. I think that will be a scary number.


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