Chicago sports teams work together to get fans back in the stands

John Garcia Image
Friday, June 19, 2020

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The COVID-19 pandemic has forced some sports teams to sit on the sidelines, but the heads of Chicago's clubs came together to reveal their plans to get fans in the stands.

Chicago Cubs and White Sox players were near the end of spring training, about to begin the regular season, when everything came crashing to a halt.

For sports fans, it's been a harsh few months.

"First and foremost, we want to get baseball back on the field," said Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts.

Baseball owners and the players' union representatives are still in difficult negotiations to try to reach an agreement to make that happen. But there are lots of questions in every sport.

Ricketts was joined by Michael Reinsdorf from the Bulls and Sox, and Ted Phillips from the Bears, at the virtual Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce meeting, with ABC7's Jim Rose serving as the moderator.

They all expect that once games return, they will be without fans at first. But they hope not for too long.

"Public health is number one," Phillips said.

For owners, the layoff has been expensive.

Ricketts said baseball owners collectively have lost more than $3 billion. While baseball, hockey and basketball are hoping to resume their seasons this summer, football is hopeful of starting their normal season in September.

"Right now, every team is laser-focused on starting on time," Phillip said.

The owners said they are looking at all options for getting fans back in the stands as quickly as possible, from separate entrances to limiting capacity to requiring everyone to wear masks.

They said they'll do whatever it takes to ensure safety.