Bears president bristles at report in Forbes magazine

A recent Forbes magazine article sacked the Chicago Bears for being underperformers in the NFL.

Not just in the win/loss column where the team has foundered since reaching the Super Bowl four years ago, but in the big picture. Per the report, the Bears should be worth $800 million more than the $1.07 billion the magazine estimates their value to be. Forbes clearly states that the Bears should be the most valuable franchise in the league because they’re in the NFL’s second-largest market with the Giants and Jets fighting for turf in the biggest – New York. Bears president Ted Phillips responded to the article Monday night when the team invited select season-ticket holders to a live radio broadcast at the team’s indoor practice facility. Phillips, general manager Jerry Angelo and coach Lovie Smith were on hand for a feel-good kickoff to the season.

“There is a lot of misinformation, comments made by people who are completely uninformed about our business," Phillips. "From my perspective, when you have the smallest stadium in the NFL and you are able to even by Forbes' calculation be in the Top 10, I think that shows that we're doing an excellent job of maximizing our revenues from every source possible, maximizing the utilization of all of our resources and being able to have enough resources to compete on the field in terms of competing for player talent.

“So I think overall it was a very misinformed article. I am very proud of the situation we have financially, the support of ownership. The Bears are going to always be financially competitive and we're always going to be innovative and on the cutting edge of everything we do so that we can maximize the value to our fans and to give us the best chance to win on the field.”

Phillips regularly mentions that the Bears play in the smallest stadium in the NFL. That’s something he’s partially responsible for because he was the point man in the team’s drive to land a refurbished stadium in 2003. The Bears reduced the seating capacity at Soldier Field when it was remodeled following the 2001 season. At a time when other teams were planning to go bigger, the Bears went smaller. For Phillips to use it as an excuse now for anything – including raising ticket prices – seems odd.

The Forbes article questioned much of what goes on at Halas Hall, including how the team seeks additional outcome.

“The Bears are one of the least innovative teams in the NFL," Marc Ganis, the president of Chicago consultancy SportsCorp, told Forbes.

Phillips responded: “I can start in a lot of different areas, the reality is when we built Soldier Field, we weren't allowed to have naming rights at the stadium. I think we were the first team to come up with the presenting sponsor of Bears football, which is (a major bank)," he said. "The skylike suite that we have, we were the first team in Chicago to come up with an all-inclusive price for a premium seating. Every Chicago team has since followed suit. Those are just two areas.

"Our Web site is cutting edge, our Bears broadcasting is cutting edge. We do things technologically to stay ahead of the curve and that I think is only going to serve our fans well and our corporate partners."

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