Update (Friday, 5:30 p.m.) When the Chicago Bulls announced plans Wednesday to leave Deerfield’s Berto Center for a practice facility in Chicago it quickly became Patch’s most popular story of the month.
Patch wants to know how readers feel about the team’s decision to leave a long time home for a new one in the city so a poll has been added to this story. Cast your vote before 3 p.m. Tuesday and Patch will publish the results Wednesday.
(Earlier, Wednesday, 8:11 a.m.) The Chicago Bulls committed today to leaving for a practice facility in Chicago, according to a release from the team.
The Berto Center has been home to Bulls’ practices since 1992 and for many years before that at the Multiplex, . The coaching staff has its offices there as well. The Berto Center will be sold.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been pitching Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf to move the practice facility to a downtown Chicago location. Reinsdorf now thinks the time is right for the Bulls to make the move.
“We have been contemplating how to address the growth limitations of our practice facility for awhile, so the Mayor’s timing and ours seems to make sense,” Reinsdorf said in the release. “He (Emanuel) thought centralizing our team assets inside the city limits would be a show of our ongoing commitment to Chicago.”
Reinsdorf stressed the effort of Emanuel persuading the team to leave Deerfield for the city because of what the Bulls show the rest of the world about Chicago. “The Mayor stressed that the Bulls brand is important to the city, nationally and internationally, and that the Bulls represent the spirit and competitive grit of Chicago,” Reinsdorf said.
Though the Bulls have been pleased with their Deerfield home for a long time, the team has outgrown the Berto Center and it sees a benefit to creating geographic proximity for all its operations.
“We have been happy at the Berto for many years,” Bulls President and COO Michael Reinsdorf said in the release. “However, for us, the time is right for a move from both a basketball and a business standpoint.”
Michael Reinsdorf sees the move as one that fits the team’s evolving philosophy of its business model.
“Strategically, we are taking a more integrated approach to our business, and decreasing the physical distance between our two main facilities will naturally create more opportunities for collaboration among all departments,” he said. “There is no longer space to grow where we are.”
The team is in the process of exploring a variety of site locations throughout the city. A specific timetable has not yet been established for the project, which will be privately funded.
A new facility could include additional features that would allow the team to expand its use of the building, particularly during non-practice times, according to the release. Some ideas under consideration include event and educational space, and greater digital and video production capabilities.