Bears Could Start New Trend

This week the Chicago Bears announced a 12-year corporate partnership that will bring in more than $30 million in revenue. Look for Red McCombs to use a similar strategy.

One of the buzz words around the NFL is revenue streams. Why so many new stadiums? Corporate luxury suites provide so much money it makes old stadiums obsolete. Why do so few teams play in stadiums named after people like the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome? Because naming rights add millions to the coffers of the franchise -- like the Heinz Co. spending $57 million for the naming rights of the Steelers' new stadium.

So it really shouldn't have come as any surprise when the Bears announced this week a corporate partnership with Bank One. In a 12-year deal, Bank One will have signs placed throughout Soldier Field, and on non-network broadcasts of team functions (like radio and local broadcasts) will be referred to with phrases like "the Bears are presented by Bank One."

The take for the 12-year package? VU has been told it is in excess of $30 million -- a nice revenue stream not seen prior to this.

You can bet the revenue-stream depleted Vikings will be taking a long look at the package the Bears worked out. If it can work for them, why not the Vikings? McCombs continues to seek out new ways to market his team and make money at the same time and, while the old guard of the NFL may scoff at such ideas, money is money and, if it proves successful, everyone else will jump on board.

Remember when the first couple of new stadiums had corporate names attached to them? The old guard scoffed then -- until they got a whiff of the same big money and cashed in.

* Remember when Neil O'Donnell and Shane Matthews turned down the Vikings' offers to be their backup QB. Well, Matthews was subsequently cut from the team he opted for over the Vikings and O'Donnell had to wait months to finally sign. The Vikings offered O'Donnell $4 million over three years with an incentive package that would increase the deal if he was the starter. He said no and returned to Tennessee, signing a two-deal Tuesday worth just $1.7 million with a pathetic $90,000 signing bonus.

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