Shortly after Kevin Warren’s introductory press conference on Tuesday, current Chicago Bears President and CEO Ted Phillips answered questions at Halas Hall regarding the plan for a new stadium. Phillips, who has served in his positions since 1999, will relinquish his control to Warren sometime in April. While the transition process seems to have already started, Phillips too has his eyes set on a new Bears venue.
Chicago Bears’ stadium may be domed, playing surface still being discussed
Phillips was quick to comment on the fact that the new stadium will be a process that takes time, as property taxes and infrastructure funding, amongst a plethora of other logistical details, need to be ironed out before anything can officially begin.
Later, Phillips added that “we haven’t even designed the stadium, right now it’s just a footprint”, so all talk right now is just theoretical, but nonetheless, it appears that there is already a laundry list of features a new stadium would include. Phillips expanded, saying “we need a lot of fan amenities because of the tight site that Soldier Field is on… I think if this goes forward… It will be an enclosed stadium, and we love what [Warren] did in Minnesota”. Bears fans should be somewhat familiar with the Minnesota Vikings’ U.S. Bank stadium, and it seems that a new stadium may be similar, if not better.
However, Phillips, who helped renovate Soldier Field in 2003, talked about the move from downtown Chicago to the suburbs, saying “the location [of Soldier Field] is picturesque and we love the city of Chicago. Even if we end up developing [the Arlington Heights] site, we’re still going to have a presence in the city and be invested in the community… and still be the Chicago Bears”. It is reassuring to hear that despite a theoretical move to Arlington Heights, the team would still keep the city of Chicago in their team name.
Already stating that a new stadium would more than likely be a domed enclosure, Phillips commented on the playing surface — a topic that has been at the center of conversation between the league and the NFLPA. When asked about using grass or turf, Phillips replied “we’re not going to say no to anything right now. We have talked and will continue to talk with the league about the advancements in turf technology. You’re always worried about lower extremity injuries, and you don’t want to go that direction if that’s an issue”.
Phillips explained that this move is not a unilateral decision that the Chicago Bears as an organization can make independently, explaining that “if we move forward, we’ll definitely have involvement with the community, because it has to work for them too, not just the Chicago Bears”. Phillips said that a lot of these conversations with legislators, community leaders, and a number of other individuals who would be impacted have already occurred. However, it still seems that a lot of different people will have to approve this move before anything can get started.
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With Phillips beginning the transition process with new President and CEO Kevin Warren, it is clear that most of these deals and discussions will happen under Warren, and Phillips gave some sage advice for the new executive as he navigates this experience: “be yourself, be transparent, be honest with your dealings, and that will always serve yourself well in the end”.