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You gotta be kidding me

Tuesday, Apr 23, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Crain’s back in February

In an hourlong talk over lunch Feb. 21, Reinsdorf consistently argued that his goal is not to make money but field a winning team — in Chicago.

Hilarious. He’s doing neither right now.

* More from that February story

Regarding his own team’s fortunes and his hopes for a state-sponsored stadium, Reinsdorf notably:

• Said financing the stadium would require not only $1.1 billion in subsidies from an existing tax on Chicago hotel rooms but also up to $900 million in infrastructure work that already has been authorized but not funded by a tax-increment financing district that covers The 78 property. Such a move, however, will require legislative and possibly City Council approval.

* Three wins and 19 losses later, here’s Crain’s again

A source close to Reinsdorf said that, despite earlier media reports indicating that Reinsdorf wants the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority to front the entire $1.25 billion said to be needed for the new ballpark, “We never said there would not be White Sox investment in the potential development.”

Wait, what happened to the $2 billion in total public funding that Reinsdorf himself talked about?

Anyway

“To the contrary,” the source continued. “We have been looking at several scenarios which would, under the right conditions, involve significant private investment. But as everyone knows, this is an evolving situation. And once we have a clear, definitive path, we will have a clear, definitive commitment.” […]

The source did not define “significant.” But people close to negotiations say Reinsdorf has mentioned a figure of $200 million or more.

$200 million in private funding for a publicly owned stadium is not “significant.” It’s an insult.

* Frankly, I’ve begun to believe that the White Sox are only floating this South Loop idea to prevent the Bears from tapping into the excess bonding authority at the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority.

All we’ve seen so far from the team is a couple of quickie AI renderings (complete with misspellings).

And then a few hours after the Bears announced that they’ll lay out an actual stadium plan on Wednesday, supposedly with $2 billion in private money, the Sox come up with this little press pop.

Makes you wonder.

       

54 Comments
  1. - Lincoln Lad - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 10:52 am:

    The White Sox are not serious partners… while the Bears plan could be a welcome addition to the city. Bears will have to up the $2B ante… but they knew that when they started there.


  2. - Former Downstater - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 10:56 am:

    How realistically does everyone think something could be passed this session for either/both of these projects? We all know clocks won’t be stopped again but shell bills are often possibilities. I would think the lack of real plans and real numbers are the killer here with limited time remaining to pass anything.


  3. - DuPage Saint - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 10:59 am:

    i am sure that 200 million will be a loan to the state to get going repayable back to Jerry at 15%. Plus and he will need it will the state still buy tickets if his attendance bad?
    And seriously there is no apparent interest from the Governor do the Bears and Sox think the Mayor can come up with money?


  4. - Stones - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 11:00 am:

    Imagine the Bears making the White Sox look and sound like fools.


  5. - ChicagoVinny - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 11:02 am:

    When I read that paltry amount JR put forward in Crain’s this morning I laughed out loud.


  6. - DuPage Dad - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 11:08 am:

    People overlook the fact that the Bears and White Sox are owned by people who’s primary net worth is based on the team itself, and doesn’t have significant external holdings to leverage. The Kroenke’s are Wal-Mart money and have huge real estate investments to allow them to leverage huge investments into things like SoFi Stadium. I personally think both franchises could get stadium deals done with some reasonable public financing included if they were sold to owners who had actual business empires to leverage against. These two simply can’t do that so they are usually talking mostly-public financed buildings because thats the only way they get done.


  7. - Dan Johnson - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 11:08 am:

    A new group of Chicago rich people should buy the White Sox.


  8. - Former State Worker - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 11:09 am:

    $200 million won’t even move the needle.

    SELL THE TEAM, JERRY.


  9. - Time Is Up - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 11:09 am:

    The rumor in the fifth floor was that MBJ and his senior advisor were MIA from asylum conversations because they were hard at work to try to keep the bears here.

    Why is this relevant? The mayor has been quiet about where he stands on this and one has to wonder why the bears feel so emboldened to take on friends of the parks.


  10. - Frida's boss - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 11:14 am:

    Jerry seems to forget there is a team across town that has had far more recent success than they have. All with private money and very public fights with the government. During those fights with the government and no public money they have created an experience, improved and upgraded the stadium, rebuilt all the rooftops, built up a hotel, have players that play baseball etc etc

    Maybe Jerry should hire someone? I don’t know who but look across town there’s got to be someone there who knows how this is done?


  11. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 11:14 am:

    ===People overlook the fact that the Bears and White Sox are owned by people who’s primary net worth is based on===

    So?

    Sell the team.


  12. - ChrisB - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 11:22 am:

    I made a comment back when they released the renderings about how it’s just a deflection from the bad press of letting Benetti walk to the Tigers, and Rich called me a conspiracy theorist.

    VINDICATION IS MINE(Banned punctuation)


  13. - Jerry - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 11:25 am:

    Why do these privately owned sports corporations want to mooch off of hard working taxpayers?

    No Welfare for the Bears (or Sox).

    Pay for it yourselves!


  14. - 40,000 ft - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 11:28 am:

    “Frankly….” that sounds like a conspiracy theory of some people conspiring to do something.

    jk ;)


  15. - Red Ranger - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 11:29 am:

    Honest question, what is the risk to the Sox if Bears take the extra bonding authority? Is it there would be less public money to help pay for upgrades to current G-Rate Field?


  16. - Google Is Your Friend - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 11:35 am:

    - Dan Johnson - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 11:08 am:

    There’ll be a whole new group of rich people when the season ends who got rich betting on the Sox to lose! They can buy the team and fund a new stadium!


  17. - Just Me 2 - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 11:53 am:

    Sorry if this is a stupid question - but why don’t the Bears and Sox build a joint stadium together?


  18. - TJ - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 12:12 pm:

    The White Sox as a whole are batting below the Mendoza Line.

    https://twitter.com/secretbase/status/1782780912377409650?t=uR19OQjESrUSN4lCQTwqGw&s=19

    Even the Indians in the movie Major League weren’t that bad at the start of their season…


  19. - TJ - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 12:13 pm:

    == Sorry if this is a stupid question - but why don’t the Bears and Sox build a joint stadium together? ==

    Because dual-use baseball/football stadiums have a long track record of proof as being bad for both teams. Both leagues have very wisely run away from that trend.


  20. - Roadrager - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 12:15 pm:

    ==Sorry if this is a stupid question - but why don’t the Bears and Sox build a joint stadium together?==

    Nobody wants to share a stadium anymore. Everyone wants everything for their own pockets. The circular multipurpose stadiums for football and baseball were barely adequate venues for either, but nowadays even basketball and hockey want their own dedicated barns.

    Jerry offering to fund as much as 10 whole percent of his new trinket is a non-starter, and though the Bears’ plan may be more fleshed out, the lack of a county or state presence in the press release tells me this is either just a pretty pre-draft fantasy or we’re about to see Brandon Johnson hang himself out to dry in a new and exciting way.

    Also, if Reinsdorf has $200 million burning a hole in his pocket, I understand that’s right around the going rate for a prime parcel in Arlington Heights.


  21. - Benjamin - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 12:18 pm:

    @Just 2 Me: combination football-baseball stadiums haven’t been built for pro teams in decades. There are just too many design compromises necessary to make it work well for either sport.

    I won’t detail the reasons here, but the Wikipedia article on multi-purpose stadiums outlines it nicely.


  22. - Boone's is Back - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 12:19 pm:

    Reinsdorf is laughably out of touch on this one. He thinks it’s 1988.


  23. - Jocko - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 12:22 pm:

    Someone needs to tell Jerry and the McCaskeys to read the room.

    To paraphrase Regina George (from Mean Girls) “Stop trying to make stadiums happen (exclamation point)”


  24. - Lincoln Lad - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 12:27 pm:

    Michael Jordan - now’s the time for your baseball dream to become reality. Buy the White Sox. Please.


  25. - The Real Downstate - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 12:35 pm:

    == his goal is not to make money but field a winning team ==

    This would be counter to his approach with the Bulls, where he knows he can sell tickets with mediocre teams and avoid the luxury taxes on playoff appearances, so he doesn’t have any incentive to invest more in the team and have a more successful season.

    Maybe if Jerry had a track record of actually attempting to build good teams and achieve post-season success, then we could trust that he really does care more about winning than making money. But all we have to do is look to the Bulls to see that he only cares about his bottom line.


  26. - City Guy - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 12:48 pm:

    If the City wants to spend tax dollars on entertainment venues, I would rather have my dollars go to Avalon Regal Theater and Uptown Theater both located in neighborhoods, not downtown.


  27. - Roadrager - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 12:53 pm:

    ==Michael Jordan - now’s the time for your baseball dream to become reality. Buy the White Sox. Please.==

    I recommend taking a long, long look at the Charlotte Bobcats/Hornets under Jordan’s stewardship before you start trying to manifest that into being.


  28. - Excitable Boy - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 12:59 pm:

    - but why don’t the Bears and Sox build a joint stadium together? -

    What would you call it, Hell Park? That’s far too much misery for a single venue.


  29. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 1:03 pm:

    Jerry is suffering from severe delusions at this point.

    As a lifelong Sox and Bears fan I say not one single penny for either team and no property tax breaks. Not a single penny.


  30. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 1:10 pm:

    ===Jerry is suffering from severe delusions at this point===

    The delusion is in believing he’s serious, IMHO. I think Jerry knows what he’s doing. See above.


  31. - Gravitas - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 1:23 pm:

    Rosemont has a ballpark facility available right now. It’s close to the tollway for easy access. With the limited seating capacity, it should be the perfect fit for the current Sox team that has thousands of unneeded seats on 35th Street.


  32. - Chicagonk - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 1:58 pm:

    It makes sense for the state and the city to work with the Bears. It makes no sense to work wtih the White Sox.


  33. - Dan Johnson - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 2:12 pm:

    It doesn’t make any sense to pay for the Bears either. They can pay just as much as Taylor Swift pays to use the stadium.


  34. - Jerry - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 2:14 pm:

    These are privately owned corporations and can afford to sink their own capital (money) themselves into the projects they want.

    Not a single cent of public money.


  35. - Annon3 - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 2:14 pm:

    As a life long Sox fan, the only thing I know is when it comes to these kind of issues Jerry knows what he is doing. The Bears on the other hand you can always count on a weird clown show.
    Man the Sox were hard to watch this past weekend.


  36. - Pundent - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 2:20 pm:

    =People overlook the fact that the Bears and White Sox are owned by people who’s primary net worth is based on=

    I don’t overlook this at all. I’m simply not persuaded by it. The Bears and White Sox belong to elite clubs that only a select few are privileged enough to buy into. The value ownership has no apparent ceiling. There’s nothing stopping either family from tapping into the capital markets to fund their stadium ambitions. They choose not to simply because of greed and hubris.


  37. - Near Westside - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 2:24 pm:

    ==or we’re about to see Brandon Johnson hang himself out to dry in a new and exciting way.==. Thanks for the LOL Roadrager


  38. - Cool Papa Bell - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 2:26 pm:

    =$200 million in private funding for a publicly owned stadium is not “significant.=

    Cute. 10 MLB teams spend $200 million a year or more on payroll.

    I hadn’t given much consideration to Rich’s point about Jerry doing this to subvert the Bears. If it’s true, at least it paints Jerry as way less out of touch.

    - but why don’t the Bears and Sox build a joint stadium together? -

    Honestly at this point, this is something that makes sense to me - a mega development in AH. The Bears and Sox could both build independent stadiums on the site. Construct hotels, entertainment and housing as well. They (the Bears) would become valuable property management company with a football hobby.


  39. - Frida's boss - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 2:33 pm:

    =People overlook the fact that the Bears and White Sox are owned by people who’s primary net worth is based on=

    IT’S not my problem that the McCaskey’s are the only NFL owners that actually have to pay themselves a salary from their team’s receipts. The family has owned the team for a century. The fact they couldn’t parlay all that business capital and relationships into a larger success is not the taxpayer’s problem. Sell the team, find an owner with deep pockets who will build a stadium, pay staff, and build a real team. The same can be said for the Sox.

    Chicago fans will spend ridiculous money on successful teams..


  40. - Cool Papa Bell - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 2:56 pm:

    Forbes says…

    =The franchise value of the Chicago Bears of the National Football League increased from 2002 to 2023. In 2023, the franchise value came to 6.3 billion U.S. dollars.=

    According to Forbes they have the 5th highest operating income at $203 million.

    Papa Bear also paid just $100 for the Bears.

    If they can’t after all of these years, broker a stadium, take a loan, get help from the NFL or whatever it takes to pay for their own stadium.

    Then sell a $6,300,000,000 asset that was purchased for $100 and find something else to do.


  41. - Jeremy Rosen - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 3:17 pm:

    I have been in Springfield all legislative session, just like Rich has, and just like many of you are. The Governor and Don Harmon have pretty clearly said - no public state money for private sports franchises. Every legislator who I have privately spoken about it feels the same way. I haven’t spoken to every legislator, but enough. I guess the teams can keep throwing things out there to see what sticks, but so far nothing has and I don’t think anything will before the GA adjourns in May.


  42. - Jerry - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 3:17 pm:

    @cool papa bell:
    Hopefully somebody asks the Bears new President a question like that tomorrow!

    Here I’ll help:

    Kevin, the Bears have 6 billion in cash, why don’t they use their own money?


  43. - Jaguar - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 3:47 pm:

    I think I mentioned it before here but I’ve thought that this noise from the Sox has more to do with generating interest in the 78 than anything else. That project has seemingly been stuck in neutral for years.


  44. - Chicagonk - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 3:49 pm:

    I agree that the state shouldn’t subsidize the Bears other than to help with the development process (I’m guessing they might need some law passed similar to the one Rauner signed for the Obama library) and allow for the issuance of muni bonds.


  45. - Back yo the Future - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 3:56 pm:

    The new Stadiums will generate a lot of revenue for taxpayers, union employees and construction folks as well as giving the teams up to date facilities that can be used for other events besides just Bear and Sox games.
    While waiting for the issues to be fully set out, it seems the stadiums will be owned by the public and the bonds will be paid by a hotel tax. Governments will get sales taxes, employment taxes and entertainment taxes. The team owners will also kick in an investment.
    Really don’t see how this is a bad deal for Chicago and the State of Illinois folks.
    Gotta believe the Mayor is concerned about the loss of revenue if the teams move out of the city or to another state. I suspect he has or will be very supportive of both of these projects.


  46. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 4:01 pm:

    ===Governments will get sales taxes===

    Not under the Sox plan


  47. - low level - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 4:17 pm:

    ==Really don’t see how this is a bad deal for Chicago and the State of Illinois folks.==.

    Its a horrible deal, esp the nonsense about the facilities being publicly owned. Private entities (the teams) get all the benefit while the public gets nothing. Public ownership / private gain. Meanwhile the net worth of both losing franchises continues to increase.


  48. - low level - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 4:27 pm:

    ==I suspect he has or will be very supportive of both of these projects.==

    He surely is, otherwise they would not be going public tomorrow.

    Gotta love this progressive mayor, fighting for equality by getting into bed and aligning himself with billionaire owners of sports franchises.


  49. - Shytown - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 4:31 pm:

    Both the bears and the Sox think that folks aren’t serious when they say they’re not interested in dedicating public dollars to either of these stadiums. Their consultants are probably telling them “don’t worry, people will come around. We just have to play the game right now.” And if the Bears come out tomorrow with a “green space“ plan, that won’t begin to make up for all that could be taken away by the stadium. That plan is DOA.


  50. - Bogey Golfer - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 4:50 pm:

    The NFL needs the Bears to remain in the Chicago area. I also believe the League definitely prefers the lakefront site for all the views they can show on TV. But the Bears originally proposed to build the 326-acre site as a mixed-use development. And schools districts are killing this????

    As for as the Sox, Jerry just wants the publicity, since the team can’t generate any. Remember San Diego County folk was getting strong-armed to build a new stadium or the Chargers were going to move. And the voters rejected a hotel tax increase and they are now the LA Chargers, sharing So-Fi Stadium with the Rams.


  51. - Roadrager - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 4:59 pm:

    Speaking as a professional and fully licensed wallet inspector, I would like to meet BTTF in person just once.


  52. - Cool Papa Bell - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 6:22 pm:

    =giving the teams up to date facilities that can be used for other events besides just Bear and Sox games.=

    Football stadiums don’t really need to be up to date for concerts and other events. Solider Field has 6 concerts this summer. I’d contend that city parks are more important to drawing concert dollars to the city than Solider Field is/will be. When 400,000 people show up for Lollapalooza, 40,000 for Riot Fest and all the other shows at Northerly Island.

    And it’s been addressed, a new domed stadium in 25 years would get you one Super Bowl and maybe 2 Final Fours.

    =if the teams move out of the city or to another state=

    Let me know where the Sox or Bears are going. Besides Arlington Heights.


  53. - @misterjayem - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 7:31 pm:

    The White Sox need a new owner or a new city.

    I wish that it weren’t true, but it is.

    – MrJM


  54. - Oklahoma - Tuesday, Apr 23, 24 @ 8:06 pm:

    “Gotta believe the Mayor is concerned about the loss of revenue if the teams move out of the city or to another state.”

    Given the ticket sales at Sox Park, the deal that was structured, and the per-game security and logistics costs, I would be willing to be that if the Sox left it would be a net positive revenue wise for the city.

    But the threat of leaving means nothing if nobody else is going to pony up the money either. Call the bluff. Tell the Sox they can move to Nashville.


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