Chicago Sun-Times

Bulls to say bye, bye to Berto Center, move downtown

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The Bulls have announced they will move their practice facility from the Berto Center in Deerfield to a new location in downtown Chicago.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel pitched the idea to Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, who has decided to sell the suburban practice facility where the team has trained since 1992.
 
"Mayor Emanuel has done a tremendous job promoting investment in the City of Chicago," said Reinsdorf. "The Mayor stressed that the Bulls brand is important to the city, nationally and internationally, and that the Bulls represent the spirit and competitive grit of Chicago. He thought centralizing our team assets inside the city limits would be a show of our ongoing commitment to Chicago. We have been contemplating how to address the growth limitations of our practice facility for awhile, so the Mayor's timing and ours seems to make sense."
 
The team is exploring a variety of sites in the city for their privately funded project. No timetable has been established.

One option could involve a situation similar to what the Warriors did in Oakland. The team built a practice facility atop a downtown hotel, and therefore their logo has become part of the city's skyline.
 
"We have been happy at the Berto for many years," said Bulls President and COO Michael Reinsdorf. "However, for us, the time is right for a move from both a basketball and a business standpoint.  Our basketball operations group has been incredibly resourceful, but there is no longer space available to grow where we are now.  And, strategically, we are taking a more integrated approach to our business, and decreasing the physical distance between our two main facilities will naturally create more opportunities for collaboration among all departments." 
 
 A new facility could allow the team to include event and education space as well as greater digital and video production capabilities, which are ideas currently under consideration.

A downtown practice facility would also reduce the commute time for players on game days. The team typically holds shootarounds at the Berto Center, which is located approximately 25 miles north of the United Center. Players then have to drive to games. Some players even maintain two residences, one near the practice facility and another near the United Center.

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This page contains a single entry by Neil Hayes published on June 13, 2012 8:49 AM.

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