The Chicago Bears have been pretty darn busy over the last week or so, making news at all levels of the organization.
They traded Robert Quinn in an eye-opening move that re-started GM Ryan Poles’ roster purge. They dealt Roquan Smith, too. They’ve stock-piled draft picks across the board. And they’ve even used a second-round pick to acquire Chase Claypool from the Steelers to bolster a WRs room in desperate need of a face-lift.
It might not show at this point in the season (they’re just 3-5…), but with a projected nine picks in next year’s draft, more than an estimated $110 million in cap space, and a quarterback finally flashing his potential, it is becoming pretty easy to believe the arrow is pointing up for Chicago’s football team.
And if you want to follow their rise on the radio next year, you’ll tune into ESPN 1000 to do so:
In the midst of one of the busiest transaction periods in recent Bears memory, the team announced ESPN AM-1000 as the team’s new flagship radio station. And with that, a partnership with WBBM radio that has been running since 2000 has an end date. The final WBBM Bears radio broadcast will take place whenever Chicago’s football team wraps up its season. Whether that is in the Week 18 regular-season finale at home against the Minnesota Vikings or in a playoff game (hey, let a guy dream!) at an undisclosed time and place remains to be seen. But the end is coming. And even though we expected it, it doesn’t make it less jarring.
Jarring as it may be, getting the Bears on ESPN has huge potential. After holding off other networks vying to be the radio home of the Bears, landing at ESPN could be huge. Getting a big national brand behind this team could lift its profile. Not just in media circles, but also when it comes to full-on franchise promotion. The Bears have a young quarterback on the rise and a possible move to a new stadium coming in the not-too-distant future. In other words, it seems like a good time to be a home of Bears content. There’s nothing like getting in on the ground floor of a rebuild. And that is exactly where ESPN radio is now as it gets Bears radio rights.
One thing I’m curious about is to see who makes the move along with the team. Will the new radio home of the Bears still employ long-time radio voice Jeff Joniak? Will Tom Thayer make the move as the team’s lead color analyst? What about sideline reporter Mark Grote? Even though the Bears radio rights have a new home, there are still questions regarding the nuts and bolts that don’t have answers. But I suppose we can dig into that at a later time.