NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport has more on the team’s newest executive and what is about to be on his plate:
For those who can’t listen to the audio or watch the video right now, I’ve transcribed the most important part (bold emphasis mine):
“Now, he takes over a Chicago Bears organization that not only has plenty of opportunities for improvement going forward plus the No. 1 pick. Also potentially looking at a new stadium that no doubt will be first and foremost in his sights.“
There is no doubt that Warren having a hand in the Minnesota Vikings building U.S. Bank Stadium helped attract the Bears to him in the first place. The Vikings built a state-of-the-art facility that opened in 2016 and ranked as a top-5 stadium according to ESPN as recently as 2020.
Here’s what Courtney Cronin (who is now on the Bears beat for ESPN) had to say about U.S. Bank Stadium then:
“Age is just a number. While U.S. Bank is only 4 years old, its traditions, like the chill-inducing Skol clap, sounding of the Gjallarhorn prior to kickoff and the fire-breathing dragon tunnel that players run out of, make it worthy of being at the top of this list. Members of Minnesota’s defense have constantly lauded the advantage they get from the crowd noise that reverberates inside, thus creating an uncomfortably loud scenario for opposing offenses to work with while defenders hunt down quarterbacks in the process.”
Wouldn’t it be nice if the Bears had a home-field advantage that people spoke so glowingly about after visiting?
The erection of a brand-spankin’-new stadium is only the end goal of that particular aspect of his job. Warren will likely become the new face of the project. And with that, entails a whole bunch of other duties. Among them will likely include figuring out the funding.
When the Vikings got the U.S. Bank Stadium deal done, the public share of the cost was $498 million (per KARE-11 in Minnesota). That number was split between electronic pull tab revenue ($348 million) and the city of Minneapolis kicking in $150 million from hospitality tax revenue. The other $551 million came from the team and other private contributions. Public money for major stadium projects is a sticky subject. The Bears have said they won’t use tax dollars for the stadium. But they’d like to put that money toward necessary infrastructure upgrades. Actions speak louder than words, so Warren will have his work cut out for him in that regard.
The Bears won’t officially introduce Warren as their new president until a Tuesday press conference. Perhaps then we’ll start getting some more answers as to how he plans to go about undergoing the most important stadium project this franchise has been a part of since 2002.