Missing the playoffs for three straight seasons won't prevent the Bears from raising ticket prices.
On a day when Tiger Woods' much anticipated nationally broadcast mea culpa was sure to dominate the news, the Bears announced that most ticket prices at Soldier Field will be increased for the 2010 season.
Club seats will be raised from $10 to $20. Non-club seat increases range from $2 to $17 and now range from $68 to $125.
"Last year when we went through the process and decided not to raise ticket prices due to the unprecedented economic downturn, I know in the city we were the first team to do that. It was the right thing to do," team president Ted Phillips said in a conference call with three Chicago-area reporters.
"The reality now is that the biggest goal we have financially is we have to remain economically competitive with others teams in the league with the goal of building a championship team, obviously. Given the fact that we have the smallest stadium capacity in the league, we pay one of if not the highest amusement tax of any team --- we pay 12 percent combined city/county amusement tax --- just to keep our ticket revenues in the middle of the pack more often than not we're going to have to increase most of the ticket prices every year. I think that's been shown since we opened the building. I think every year except for last year we did increase prices.
"Do we like it? No. We do do our best trying to balance the economics of being competitive while at the same time being sensitive to our season ticket holders by adding more value."
I asked Phillips if the level of fan dissatisfaction and lack of confidence in the management and coaching staff makes the ticket hike tougher to sell.
"Anytime you have a losing year you're going to get some negativity given the passion of our fans. I get that," he said. "The reality is --- I'm hopeful --- the moves we made this offeason will be viewed as positive. I know internally we feel real good about it. We feel good about the process of hiring a new offensive coordinator. I feel good about the process of having a guy like Rod Marinelli as the defensive coordinator. From a fan perspective, until it gets translated into winning games there will be doubters. But right now, from the things I've heard, when you listen to Mike Martz talk publically he gives fans legitimate reason for hope and we're excited about it."