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Bears shed light on COVID-19-related issues


During a radio appearance Monday, Bears senior vice president of marketing and communications Scott Hagel discussed the team's donation to a COVID-19 response fund, the payment deadline for season tickets and much more.

To help those in need affected by the coronavirus, the Bears announced last Friday that they will make a $250,000 donation to the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund. The Fund is in collaboration with the City of Chicago, the Chicago Community Trust and United Way of Metro Chicago.

"Like everybody, we feel it's important for us to do our part," Hagel said on the Mully & Haugh Show on WSCR 670 AM. "There are many people that are affected by what's going on right now with this pandemic and we thought this was a good way to begin our support.

"We encourage others who have the ability to do the same to contribute in ways that they can, because while we're fortunate that we're able to continue doing our jobs, there are others that can't and there are a lot of resources out there that are not as immediately available. This was a way that we felt that we could make an immediate impact for those who are in immediate need."

Hagel also provided information about the payment deadline for season tickets, which was last Friday. While the deadline was not extended, he said the team continues to work with season ticket holders on an individual basis.

"We talked about the potential of pushing that deadline back," Hagel said. "But frankly in terms of the discussions we were having with some of our season-ticket holders, just simply moving the deadline back we didn't feel would solve the ultimate problem because none of us know where this ultimately is going with the fluidity of the situation.

"We'd rather talk to you each individually and say, 'Help us understand what you're dealing with and let us help you remain a season ticket holder.' And honestly this is nothing that's different than what we've done in the past. Obviously these circumstances are extraordinary and unique. So we will be dealing with a few more of them this year, and it's something we certainly want to do again. The No. 1 goal is we want people who want to remain season ticket holders to have that ability to do so, and we're willing to work with them to make sure that happens."

While Halas Hall is closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bears possess the infrastructure that allows all customer service representatives to work remotely. As a result, season ticket holders are encouraged to call the ticket office at (847) 615-BEAR (2327) to discuss their situations.

"We've been trying to customize programs to the individual season ticket holder based on their circumstances," Hagel said. "We felt like that was the best route for us to take to really truly solve the problem. We've been doing that over the course of the last two weeks. We'll continue to do so.

"The number that we've had [already call] is relatively small. We're in roughly that two percent range of our total accounts have called in. They've asked for relief and we're working on ways to provide that relief to them."

Hagel also detailed the impetus behind the social media messages that have recently been posted featuring Bears players Eddie Jackson, Roquan Smith, Tarik Cohen, David Montgomery, Cody Whitehair and Pat O'Donnell. Jackson, for example, urges fans to wash their hands thoroughly and practice social distancing in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.

"As many of us saw, the younger generations were the slowest to adopt the measures our health officials were encouraging all of us to do, especially as it related to the social distancing piece," Hagel said. "And we know sports, and specifically the players who play our games, they're a great resource to reach that target audience, so we worked with our players. They were great in terms of recording a variety of messages to encourage everyone to do their part to help flatten that curve, whether it's staying at home, washing your hands, all those things that we've heard about and need to continue to do."

Many of the players thanked doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers for risking their lives to help deal with the pandemic.

"We wanted to make sure that we said thank you to them," Hagel said. "What really drove this point home is our healthcare partner, Advocate Aurora Health, reached out to us and said, 'Hey, listen, there's some real battle fatigue on the frontlines given the magnitude of this situation and they really could use encouragement,' and we took that to heart. To all the healthcare workers, we wanted to make sure that we were able to say thank you to them just to try to give them a morale boost."