Some things will change for the Chicago Bears
The future of the Chicago Bears’ ownership and leadership has been a question mark hanging over the team since this summer. A report came out in August that the Bears’ principal owner Virginia McCaskey’s health condition was more serious. A couple of weeks later, news broke that the team’s CEO/President, Ted Phillips, would be stepping down near the end of the NFL season.
A changing of the guard is in the works for the Bears. It had to come after decades of the two working in the Bears organization. But even though some names change, the foundation may remain the same. The Bears have been in the same family since George Halas bought the Bears for $100 in 1920.
Per a report by Eben Novy-Williams and Kurt Badenhausen of Sportico, the Chicago Bears are coming up with a scheme to keep the team in the family.
The Bears, whose owners declined to comment for this story, have a plan to keep the team in the family when Virginia McCaskey dies, according to multiple people familiar with the matter. Specifics of that plan weren’t provided, but would require re-consolidating control of at least 30% of the team, which is now worth $5 billion, into a single wing of the McCaskey family. It could also involve the sale of some equity.
Bears ownership appears to have cleared the first two hurdles of NFL succession planning—minimize tax impact and create a framework for the heirs. The final, and often most complex, step is successfully executing that plan when the time comes.
It’s worth reading the entire article to understand the family’s nuances with tax and estate law–and the NFL.
The Chicago Bears’ family history offers nostalgia but does it win?
If you read many Bears fans’ comments on social media, it would appear that most of the fanbase is inclined toward new ownership. The Bears might have had early success under Halas, but they’ve won one Super Bowl under Virginia’s ownership since 1983.
Reports on George McCaskey, the chairman of the Chicago Bears, are typically skeptical of his handling of the team’s affairs. (To get a hint of what that might mean, Roquan Smith publicly addressed him “McCaskey family” in his letter demanding a trade. Smith was hoping he could get more money from McCaskey than what general manager Ryan Poles was willing to offer.) The self-proclaimed “not a football evaluator” is currently the second in charge of the Bears. Former Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall considered the joint ran like a small business.
If the team stays in the family, more of these types of dynamics will be in the works.
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