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Volume 26 No. 207

Facilities

The Bears’ newest Halas Hall expansion is an "apt illustration of just how far the franchise has come under McCaskey ownership," as the team is now "leading the way" into the 21st century, according to Mark Potash of the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES. An "impressive 162,500-square-foot expansion" of the team's football operations facilities is "in some cases beyond state-of-the-art." The Bears have "increased the size of their locker room, weight room, draft room, cafeteria and sports medicine facilities." In addition, they have "added amenities like a barber shop, a sauna and a steam room." They have also "included the latest technological advancements in virtually every area." The Bears "even installed a 4,200-square-foot rooftop garden area, where they will grow their own herbs." Among other highlights:

  • A new players’ entrance down a corridor with the names and uniform numbers of the 14 retired jerseys on each wall.
  • A 3,250-square-foot players lounge.
  • An expanded cafeteria.
  • The new locker room is 1,750 square feet larger.
  • The weight room was increased in size by 2,000 square feet (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 8/30).

MORE DETAILS: In Chicago, Dan Wiederer notes the project, with HOK as the design firm and Mortenson Construction as the general contractor, began in March '18. The organization "quadrupled its sports medicine space, which now features two hydrotherapy pools, two plunge pools, [and] a float pod." Meanwhile, a 13,000-square-foot "indoor turf training space also was added on the north end of the campus" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/30). Also in Chicago, JJ Stankevitz wrote "no longer does Halas Hall feel out-dated or small" (NBCSPORTSCHICAGO.com, 8/29).

HALAS HALL EXPANSION

After averaging 20,618 fans per game in '15, the Dynamo have been losing about 1,500 per year
Photo: getty images
After averaging 20,618 fans per game in '15, the Dynamo have been losing about 1,500 per year
Photo: getty images
After averaging 20,618 fans per game in '15, the Dynamo have been losing about 1,500 per year
Photo: getty images

The Dynamo are upsetting some of their biggest fans due to the "planned expansion of the supporters' section at BBVA Compass Stadium," according to Matt Pentz of THE ATHLETIC. The club hopes to follow the lead of teams like LAFC and Sporting KC by "cultivating their own fan culture, and ... one day cranking up the volume" at the stadium. In order to do that, team execs have decided to expand the supporters' section and "move it closer to the field." By doing that, though, the Dynamo are "displacing many of the longest-serving season-ticket holders." The fans contend that they "weren't consulted beforehand, that the relocation process has not gone smoothly and that they have generally felt disregarded by the whole process." Dynamo fan Donald Lee, who has had season tickets since the club's debut in '06, said, "We're feeling pushed away and rejected. It's like a business strategy that says all we care about is attracting new fans and we don't care about our long-term, loyal fans." Pentz noted many fans also do not understand the "necessity of expanding a section that is only half full on even the best match days." Attendance has been "falling annually for a while now." After averaging 20,618 fans per game in '15, the club has been "bleeding about 1,500 per year since then, and will be lucky to crack 15,000 this season" (THEATHLETIC.com, 8/29).

The Overwatch League's Philadelphia Fusion are in the market selling naming rights to the new $50M Fusion Arena that Comcast is building in Philadelphia. Fusion Chief Business Officer Joe Marsh said he expects the deal to be unveiled either late this year or early next year, even though the venue will not open until ’21. The building's official groundbreaking is set to take place next month during the OWL Grand Finals. Marsh said Comcast received an offer from an undisclosed brand early on in the process, but that talks continue and that they are “going really well.” Marsh: “We’ve had really good conversations in the market; we actually had an offer pretty early on in the process, but our agency Spectra has done a great job." Marsh said with a "ground-up build, if you get in early (as a sponsor), you have the ability to put your own imprint on signage, locations and hospitality areas -- so we think it’s a benefit to sell and secure a partner early on.”

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