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Pritzker says White Sox stadium push so far is ‘not enough to make it a priority’ for Springfield

Monday, Feb 26, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Tina Sfondeles asked the governor about public subsides for a new White Sox stadium today during a news conference on Pritzker’s maternal health initiatives

Pritzker: I think there’s still a lot of work to be done by the White Sox as well as with members of the General Assembly. But I will say that I think I’ve been really clear about the fact that the taxpayers’ dollars are precious. The idea of taking taxpayer dollars and subsidizing the building of a stadium as opposed to for example, subsidizing the building of a birthing center. Just to give the example, does not seem like the stadium ought to have higher priority.

Having said that, many of us sports fans want to see the teams succeed. But these are private businesses. And we’ve seen other teams be able to support their own stadiums privately. That’s that would be ideal here. I think that’s something that I would encourage. I think the city of Chicago is engaged as well with them. But I wouldn’t put any number forward. I just don’t. I mean, I started out really reluctant.

Unless a case is made, the investment yields a long term return for the taxpayers that we can justify in some way. I haven’t seen that yet. And to be clear, nobody has presented directly to me, my staff has seen a presentation. So I just want you to know that I started out a bit reluctant. Having said that, you know, I’m a fan of all of our teams and I want them to succeed.

Although I am a Cubs fan first and foremost. Sorry to all the White Sox fans

Q: What was your staff’s takeaway from the presentation and when was that?

Pritzker: The information that we’ve gotten so far is still very limited. How the taxpayer is going to benefit from this still hasn’t been put forward to us. It’s just what the need is. And of course, I think the pictures that we’ve all seen, the drawings anyway in the newspaper, all look terrific. But, but again, that’s not enough to make it a priority in my view for Springfield.

Please pardon all transcription errors.

* More…

    * Crain’s | Chicago Fire ‘keeping an eye on’ Bears, Sox stadium talks: Under a proposal being floated by the Sox and developer Related Midwest for a new baseball stadium in the South Loop, the Major League Soccer club would become the anchor tenant at Guaranteed Rate Field, which would be redeveloped from the Sox’s home into a soccer-specific stadium. Elected officials wouldn’t be able to justify abandoning a publicly funded Major League Baseball stadium on the disinvested South Side to benefit downtown without finding a new use for the Bridgeport ballpark. And the Fire, which now play at Chicago Park District-owned Soldier Field, could fit the bill.

    * Front Office Sports | Enough for Both? White Sox, Bears Ramp Up Push for Stadium Funds: Reinsdorf conceded in the Crain’s interview that the White Sox and Bears could vie for the same hotel tax funds to fund their respective projects. The Bears are continuing an extensive search across the Chicago area for a site on which to build a new domed stadium. Despite the Bears owning a 326-acre tract in suburban Arlington Heights, an ongoing tax assessment dispute has helped extend the team’s search for other possibilities. Talks have occurred between the White Sox and Bears about not complicating each other’s stadium development and funding efforts, but a shared facility is not being contemplated.

    * Sun-Times | Why is Jerry Reinsdorf spending millions buying up parking lots around the United Center?: Over the past 19 months, a Reinsdorf-connected company has spent $44.7 million buying vacant lots from two politically connected families that have long offered discounted parking deals to fans of the Bulls and Blackhawks, records examined by the Chicago Sun-Times show. A third family has refused to sell its parking lots.

       

19 Comments
  1. - Friday Addams - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 12:01 pm:

    The Fire move from where the Bears play to where the Sox play so the Sox can move elsewhere while the Bears also want to move.

    Rearranging deck chairs for the filthy rich and famous.


  2. - Flyin'Elvis'-Utah Chapter - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 12:23 pm:

    Pritzker to Reinsdorf:

    Kick rocks.


  3. - Colin O'Scopy - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 12:32 pm:

    There was some debate last week about the White Sox not moving to Nashville due to their exposure to a purported $2 billion fee. I thought about that over the weekend and I am not sure that would apply in this case.

    That fee is the cost for an expansion team entering (buying into) the MLB ranks. I can’t see how a move to another city would trigger that fee when an existing franchise, like the White Sox and the Oakland As (who are about to take possession of a new stadium in Las Vegas) would elect to move jurisdictions. Did MLB require the As ownership to pay $2 billion for that move? I doubt it.


  4. - New Day - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 12:37 pm:

    NOPE

    Not One Penny Ever


  5. - TJ - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 12:40 pm:

    I don’t see how anyone with at least three working brain cells could’ve ever thought that a state public funding bill for a Sox ballpark would’ve been anything other than completely dead-on arrival in Springfield in 2024.

    The Sox caucus has never been weaker in living memory, the Sox haven’t been as disappointing as they are now in a long while, public respect for Reinsdorf hasn’t been as low as this basically ever, and all heading into a presidential election where the nation has way, way, way, way, way more priorities than a vanity project for a billionaire.

    This has to be nothing more than an empty gesture to let Reinsdorf “aw shucks” and look for relocation targets.


  6. - Something to Consider - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 12:49 pm:

    Back in my time at IDOR, I remember the Collections Bureau would send out staff to collect income tax from visiting players when certain large payroll teams (namely, the Yankees) came to town to play the White Sox. Before subscribing to New Day’s NOPE, everyone should consider the impact to state and local tax collections from the departure of a professional sports team. Wisconsin just went through a similar process with the Brewers and, while it may not be perfect, their legislature used a cost/benefit analysis to determine the maximum amount of revenue from the presence of the team ($630.5 million in income taxes alone during the lifespan of the stadium) the state and local governments stood to lose in determining how much to subsidize the stadium.

    While I completely understand the urge to reject both what the Bears and White Sox are doing, some more nuance may be necessary.


  7. - OH - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 12:55 pm:

    @Colin O’Scopy

    Existing franchises do not have to pay a fee to relocate, but the move has to be approved by the other owners. The theory is that the other owners won’t allow the White Sox to move to Nashville for free if a prospective ownership group is willing to pay them $2.2 billion expansion fee for the rights to establish a new team there.


  8. - New Day - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 12:58 pm:

    They both have publicly funded stadiums currently. They are not yet paid for. I get your point but until they demonstrate they are willing to put substantial skin in the game, my answer remains the same (as does pretty much all of Springfield). NOPE.


  9. - Colin O'Scopy - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 1:07 pm:

    = The theory is that the other owners won’t allow the White Sox to move to Nashville for free if a prospective ownership group is willing to pay them $2.2 billion expansion fee for the rights to establish a new team there.=

    That makes sense, thank you for clarifying. One question remains, however: why were the As permitted to leave Oakland for Vegas with no obstruction or objection?

    Say what you will, but Jerry Reinsdorf has a tremendous amount of clout within the MLB ownership ranks. If he’s alive when the vote comes to a head at an MLB ownership meeting in the future, I think the other owners would bless his move to Nashville.

    Also, Nashville wasn’t on any list of potential expansion cities in articles that I read and the MLB owners said they would not entertain such an expansion until the As and the Tampa Bay Rays got their new stadiums. So with that said, MLB is no stranger to resorting to extortion to benefit their ownership ranks.


  10. - Homebody - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 1:14 pm:

    JB is being much more diplomatic about this than I would in his shoes.


  11. - Anyone Remember - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 1:20 pm:

    “… taxpayers’ dollars are precious.” is code for “Find someone other than Illinois taxpayers.” We do that now with Hotel / Motel taxes.

    Or, as they say in Las Vegas “What is a tourist? A taxpayer who can’t vote!”


  12. - DuPage Saint - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 1:24 pm:

    Jerry doesn’t need the Governor the Mayor is going to take care of it and make the Governor look cheap /S


  13. - Joe Bidenopolous - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 1:27 pm:

    =That fee is the cost for an expansion team entering (buying into) the MLB ranks. =

    And now you’ve discovered the reason Nashville isn’t a real option for the Sox. They’ll get an expansion team.


  14. - Jibba - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 1:30 pm:

    Just no. And any mope who tries to make a fanciful case that the taxpayers will benefit needs to be tossed off his barstool. Sounds like JB is not going to be fooled by pretty drawings and some fast talking lawyers.


  15. - low level - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 1:39 pm:

    A bad idea for the state, city and the South Loop. Especially w Jerry in charge who thought it was a good idea to let the Bulls dynasty come apart and who thought bringing back Tony LaRussa was a good idea.

    We are going to trust him w $2B to build a stadium?


  16. - Cool Papa Bell - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 2:28 pm:

    =One question remains, however: why were the As permitted to leave Oakland for Vegas with no obstruction or objection?=

    The A’s saga in Oakland is long and tedious. Their move surrounds loggerheads at a new stadium, a really cheap owner and a town that has been mislead for years about the A’s true intentions.

    Its so bad the A’s won’t have a home for a year or two before they move to LV (and the Vegas move and stadium site is a mess too). Currently the A’s look to be playing in Sacramento from 2025 - 2027.

    =How the taxpayer is going to benefit from this still hasn’t been put forward to us.=

    And it won’t. Because it’s smoke and mirrors to get $2 billion or whatever the number is back. I really hope the Governor and others stand ground on this and tell the Sox to come up with private financing. It’s now clear that this entire stadium ploy is just to set the Sox up for a better sale either right before Jerry passes or after.


  17. - Google Is Your Friend - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 2:41 pm:

    - OH - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 12:55 pm:

    This is false. MLB has a relocation fee. It was just waived for Oakland.

    https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/38911419/mlb-owners-approve-athletics-planned-move-las-vegas-sources-say


  18. - PPP - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 3:07 pm:

    Sell the team Jerry, especially to a person/group who will keep the team in the City and finance a new stadium/renovation themselves.


  19. - Colin O'Scopy - Monday, Feb 26, 24 @ 3:41 pm:

    Rich, I haven’t posted in a while so I can’t say for sure but have I found myself in a “penalty box” for some reason? Two attempts at posting comments seem to have been blocked. If I have been blocked or put in the penalty box, I am sorry for whatever I did to incur this status. If it’s related to something else, like a filter on my end, I apologize for this, too.


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