Bears Allow Sponsor on Jerseys, But At What Price

Scott OttersenCorrespondent IJuly 22, 2009

The Chicago Bears have reached an agreement with NorthShore University HealthSystem to sponsor their practice jerseys.


Because nothing says NFL football like NorthShore University HealthSystem, right?


What's next?


I understand that the NFL is just a business and that team owners want to do everything possible to make money, but where is this going to end?


We already watch games at US Cellular Field, FedEx Field, University of Phoenix Stadium, and Bank of America Stadium just to name a few.


Now, we are giving away rights to jerseys?  So the Chicago Bears practice jerseys are brought to you by NorthShore University HealthSystem. What do they stand to gain from this? 


I would be interested to find out the corollary between a 3.5 inch by 4.5 inch patch being placed on a NFL team practice jersey and profits produced by it. I cannot see it being worth that much to their company. But, again, what do I know?


I'm just worried that this is going to lead to teams allowing corporate logos on their game jerseys. All it would take is Reebok to get a cut of the money, and I'm sure it will happen.


And, if that happens, what is next?


Are the cities going to sell the rights to the team name, so that we will be watching the Brookfield Zoo Bears play the Betty Crocker Broncos?


I am not upset by this news, and don't think that it is a majorly bad move by the NFL, or any other sport, but I think that some people will take issue with the fact that pro sports teams are selling off all the rights to their teams, stadiums, vendor services, etc., and while they are making more profits, the price of going to a game continues to rise for the fans.


Why not use the money they make off of licensing deals such as these to help make it more affordable for fans to enjoy a game at the stadium/park/field/whatever? 


And, I don't care about the reports that say average ticket prices have gone down, because those reports are doctored by the fact that the nosebleed seats have gone down in price. 


None of the seats that people truly want to sit in have gone down in price. And, if they have, maybe they went down from $105 to $100 or so, just so they can release statements saying they have lowered ticket prices.  But, little do the fans know that the price of beer, or a hot dog, or parking have been raised a little to offset the loss of that $5.

Yes, sports has become big business. But, it is still the fans that make it a big business. It's not the big corporations of the world that make the NFL what it is. It is the fans who sit through three hours of a Bears-Packers game in the middle of December, in minus-20 degree weather, with only a t-shirt and jeans on. 


It's the fans that you no longer allow to tailgate finding new parking lots to park in six hours before the game to cook up some dogs and brats, play bags, and wait 20 minutes in line to go to the bathroom at the two port-o-potties at the nearby stations.  hose are the people that make your league what it is. 


Let's allow some of those fans to have patches on your practice jerseys. Or let those fans pay you a certain amount to have the stadium named after them for a week, so that they can hear the announcers say, "Coming to you from Scott Ottersen Stadium, it's the Bears-Vikings on Fox."


No Bears fan cares that the practice jersey is sponsored by NorthShore University HealthSystem. I doubt 90 percent of the Bears fans even know about it. And maybe that is the reason they agreed to this deal, but I still find it an odd pairing. 


That's all I have to say about that. Let me know what you think.