After raising ticket prices in at least some manner for eight straight years, the Bears will freeze their prices for 2009.
In light of a struggling economy, the club decided that it was the best strategy even as occupants of the smallest stadium in the 32-team league. The Bears average ticket price was eighth in the league last season.
``Frankly, it's really no more complicated than taking a look at the very challenging economic environment that every fan, every person in America is facing,'' team president Ted Phillips said. ``It's not not just a down economic year, it's an unprecedented situation that has huge impact on every citizen and we felt for that reason it was the right thing to do.''
The decision means the organization will generate less ticket revenue in 2009. For starters, the city raised the Amusement Tax that is a part of every ticket by one point to 9 percent. Second, the Bears will offer fans the opportunity to pay for season tickets by credit card for the first time. That will cut into the team's finances as well. Non-club seats will range from $68 to $108 and club seats will be between $245 and $350. Season-ticket holders will now be able to manager their accounts online through Ticketmaster.
The bottom line on the field is that Phillips said the decision will not affect the budget for football operations. Free agency and the NFL shopping season opens Feb. 27 and general manager Jerry Angelo did not take a cut from the amount of money he has to work with for building the roster.
"I think the short answer is no,'' Phillips said. "We've set that budget for the cash that we can spend on players. It's typically pegged right around the cap and so it will be again this year. That being said, we are taking a look at every department and trying to find ways to cut back expenses and try to make operations more efficient and we're in the process of doing that as we speak."
Phillips indicated all areas of the organization are in the process of evaluating how they operate and the team is looking for ways to become more efficient. It's Phillips' goal not to implement staff reductions.