Longtime Bears season-ticket holder: ‘I felt like I was being robbed’ at deadline to re-up

Longtime Bears season-ticket holder: ‘I felt like I was being robbed’ at deadline to re-up

The scene at Soldier Field last season. | Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Fifty percent of NFL teams have pushed back payment deadlines as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. It was the right thing to do. Life is stressful enough these days without pressure from teams like the Bears that stuck to their original deadlines.

Fifty percent of NFL teams have pushed back season-ticket payment deadlines as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Where I come from, that’s practically half.

Clearly, it was the right thing to do. Life is stressful enough these days without pressure from teams — teams like the Bears — to re-up for tickets to games that may or may not happen.

The Bears — in the wrong half — stuck to their March 20 deadline. That didn’t go over so well with some fans. Take Frank Bomher, 72, of Clarendon Hills, who has supported the team a bit longer than most.

“Our beloved Chicago Bears demanded I get them my $20,000 for my 41st year as a season-ticket holder or they would take the tickets away,” Bomher wrote in an email that showed up in my inbox over the weekend. “That’s right, 41 years!

“What have I been thinking? I’ve been a staunch supporter of the McCaskey family over all these years (well, not when Mike was in charge), but this really galled me. … I felt like I was being robbed as I made that payment.”

In fact, the Bears were prepared to work on individual solutions with season-ticket holders who requested relief in some form in advance of last week’s deadline. According to the Bears, that’s their standard operating procedure.

But who would know it? There was no language to that effect in the renewal letter to season-ticket holders from team President and CEO Ted Phillips — a letter that did, though, mention a 3.9% hike in ticket prices. Bears senior VP of marketing and communications Scott Hagel told the Score’s “Mully & Haugh Show” that only about 2% of season-ticket holders called and asked for more time.

“We’ve been trying to customize programs to the individual season-ticket holders based on their circumstances,” Hagel said. “We felt like that was the best route for us to take to truly solve the problem.”

A lot of teams saw fit to go beyond that. No team more so than the rival Packers, who extended their deadline to June 1.

“I really admire the Packers organization for that,” Bomher said in a phone call a few days after firing off the aforementioned email.

Bomher used to have 13 season tickets to Bears games: seven in an end zone, right between the goal posts, and six in a family section in a corner of the Soldier Field stands. Now he has five really terrific ones — 200-level United Club seats.

The way Bomher sees it, there are fans who have to dig deeper for their season tickets than he does these days. But he has been there at times over four-plus decades.

“There surely were plenty of years when it was being weighed whether we should keep them or not,” he said.

“Look, the Bears had plenty of time. You get that letter and know you’ve got to pay up, but, man, the world kind of blew up as we know it, didn’t it? Reading about these other teams giving fans time to make good, jeez, I think [the Bears] should be a little more sympathetic to their fans.”

In the end, Bomher did what dyed-in-the-wool fans do.

“I wrote my check,” he said. “And if they have a good season, I guess I’ll forgive and forget.”

The Bears surely are counting on it.

JUST SAYIN’

• The Sweet 16 has always been my favorite round of the NCAA Tournament. By then, the tension built over four or five days since the Round of 32 is through the roof. Stakes are high for all teams that are still alive, and historically high for some of them. A handful of players are becoming legends right before our eyes. Hearts are soaring. Angels are singing. Or is it Luther Vandross warming up for another rendition of “One Shining Moment” from the heavens?

A year ago, the Sweet 16 gave us a Purdue overtime victory against Tennessee as well as wins for Duke over Virginia Tech, Kentucky over Houston and eventual champion Virginia over Oregon that were in deep doubt until the clocks struck all zeroes.

You probably don’t need to be reminded that the Sweet 16 was supposed to coincide Thursday with Opening Day for the Cubs in Milwaukee and the White Sox against the Royals at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Might’ve been, you know, kind of fun. But, hey, who needs the best day of the year in sports, anyway?

• Three questions real, live humans actually asked me this week:

“If President [Donald] Trump sends everybody back to work on Easter, will the NBA start back up pretty much right away, too?”

Answer: Not even the Easter Bunny has that big an imagination.

“Do you think there’ll still be 162 games in baseball?”

Answer: There’s a better chance Anthony Rizzo will steal 162 bases.

“Would you consider writing about horse racing?”

Answer: Got any horses’ phone numbers?

• Not to be unkind, but I heard of the WNBA’s announcement that it’ll hold a virtual draft on April 17 and immediately wanted to know: Can the Sky virtually guarantee us they’ll avoid drafting the wrong Connecticut player for the second year in a row?

Source : Steve Greenberg Link

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