The Bears are the most expensive (sports) ticket in town. With prices ranging anywhere from $68 to $300 for a club level seat, it's hard for regular Bears fans to justify the money, the dedication, and the long hours in the cold. In a recession, or depression, or whatever this is, its even harder.
So the Bears are taking a somewhat inspired step: they're freezing their prices at the current rates. Instead of raising them a certain percentage point, they're holding them steady, making them the only franchise in the area to do so since the economy started causing everyone to panic about the financial future of sports teams. The Cubs still raised their prices about 33 percent for their most expensive seats, while the White Sox added an incremental $1 or $2 addition to almost all of their tickets. The Bears? They're holding strong.
In a way, it's sort of admirable. It's hard to imagine too many Bears fans relinquishing their Sunday joy, even in this economy. If things keep trending downward, perhaps people will forgo the experience altogether and just watch from home, but it seems unlikely, right? Bears fans are sort of insane. We imagine that impulse includes their pocketbooks.
As for the business of the Bears, the team might actually do less revenue in 2009 than they did in 2008, thanks a one-percent increase in the amusement tax. Still, the club is vowing the freeze won't hurt the bottom line and won't prevent the Bears from signing aging free agents to ludicrous contracts that everyone will regret in six months. So that's good news.
Eamonn Brennan is a writer, editor and blogger hunkered down in Lincoln Park. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, FanHouse, MOUTHPIECE Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com.