Jan 13, 2023 - Sports

What the Bears' hiring of Kevin Warren means for team, stadium

Photo of a man speaking at a podium

Kevin Warren speaks during the 2022 Big Ten Conference Football Media Days. Photo: Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The Bears have hired former Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren as their next president.

Why it matters: Warren arrives as the organization faces crucial decisions including the No. 1 overall draft pick and a potential departure from Chicago in favor of Arlington Heights.

Context: Warren succeeds Ted Phillips, who is retiring after almost 40 years with the Bears.

  • Warren ushered in a billion-dollar media deal and the expansion of the Big 10.
  • Before that, he was president of the Minnesota Vikings for 15 seasons.
  • General manager Ryan Poles will report to Warren, who will oversee business operations.

What they're saying: "He is a proven leader who has many times stepped outside of his comfort zone to challenge the status quo for unconventional growth and prosperity," Bears chairman George McCaskey said in a statement.

The intrigue: In Minnesota, Warren oversaw the construction of a domed stadium for the Vikings.

  • He takes over as the Bears consider building their own stadium in the northwest suburbs.
  • The hiring comes the same week that Landmark Development released a spectacular video proposal depicting a reimagined domed Soldier Field.

Zoom in: "A redeveloped Soldier Field wouldn’t just make the best of the current venue; it can become the very best stadium in the world with the right vision," Bob Dunn, president of Landmark Development, tells Axios.

Yes, but: Both the Tribune and Sun-Times editorial boards ripped the plan, saying that without the Bears, the taxpayer-funded dome project may be unnecessary.

Between the lines: Warren's hiring may be the writing on the wall that the Bears are not returning to Soldier Field.

  • Issues regarding capacity and the actual ownership of the stadium seem to be sticking points.

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