From Soldier Field to Tottenham: Chicago's Sports Fever Ignites! | World Business Chicago

NEWS

06.06.2024

From Soldier Field to Tottenham: Chicago’s Sports Fever Ignites!

From Soldier Field to Tottenham: Chicago’s Sports Fever Ignites!

We are officially halfway through 2024, and the weather isn’t the only thing heating up—the sports scene in Chicago is full of hot news. While the entire Chicagoland area has been buzzing about the Chicago Bears since the National Football League (NFL) Draft and the news of stadium plans on the lakefront, HBO is about to bring them into the national spotlight. Our “Monsters of the Midway” will be featured in this season’s Hard Knocks, premiering August 6th. Two months after their HBO debut, the Bears face off against the Jacksonville Jaguars on October 13th at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. This will be the team’s fourth game in London since 1986.

Chicagoans have long felt a special connection to their city’s sports teams, a sentiment that underscores the economic vitality and communal spirit of our metropolis. In a Harris Poll of Cook County residents conducted in December 2023, the vast majority identified as fans of at least one of Chicago’s major professional sports teams:

 

Interestingly, more city residents than suburban Cook County residents identify as fans for each team, save for the Blackhawks—who can count a third (35%) of city residents as fans and nearly half of suburban residents (48%) as fans—and the Bears, whose shares of fans are much closer: 56 percent for city residents and 58 percent for suburban residents. Only one in six (16%) identify as not a fan of any major sports team.

This deep-rooted passion for sports both enriches our community’s cultural fabric and contributes to the local economy. The upcoming feature of the Bears on Hard Knocks and their international game in London are great examples of ways we are promoting Chicago on a global stage, attracting tourism, fostering local business growth, and reinforcing our city and region’s reputation as a vibrant hub of sports and entertainment.

If hearing about football in a futbol stadium has you wishing for some goals instead of field goals, great news for our local economy: in less than eight weeks, you can see the reigning La Liga champions, Real Madrid C.F., take on AC Milan at Soldier Field on July 31st. And, just five days later, the Premier League returns to Chicagoland as Aston Villa Football Club lines up against Mexican League powerhouse, Club América, as part of the Leagues Cup Showcase on August 3rd.

These high-profile international matches not only provide thrilling entertainment but also bring substantial economic benefits, attracting tens of thousands of visitors, boosting tourism, increasing hotel occupancy, and driving revenue for local businesses. Additionally, they enhance Chicago’s global reputation as a destination for world-class sports.

 

 

Earlier this year, Choose Chicago and the Chicago Sports Commission, in partnership with the National Hockey League, announced that the NHL Winter Classic will return to Chicago’s Wrigley Field on New Year’s Eve, featuring a highly anticipated matchup between the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues. The Winter Classic is expected to attract a large influx of visitors, boosting local businesses, increasing hotel bookings, and generating substantial revenue for the city. Additionally, it offers a unique opportunity to showcase the iconic Wrigley Field on a national stage.

Men’s teams aren’t the only ones making waves; the Chicago Red Stars are making history as the first professional women’s sports team to play at Wrigley Field since 1943 when the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League held the first-ever night game in the “friendly confines.” To celebrate this momentous occasion, Havas Chicago teamed up (pun intended) with the Red Stars and Wrigley Field for an ad campaign aimed at breaking attendance records.

This Saturday, beginning at 10 a.m., at Gallagher Way, adjacent to Wrigley Field, is Family Fun Fest, an event that not only highlights the rising prominence of women’s sports but will also drive economic benefits for our city by attracting fans, increasing tourism, and boosting local businesses.

Additionally, be sure to root for the Chicago Fire as they begin their Leagues Cup 2024 campaign at the end of July, further showcasing Chicago’s diverse and vibrant sports scene.

 

 

No matter who you rooted for in this week’s Crosstown Classic between the Cubs and the White Sox, you can vote for your favorite players to appear in the 2024 All-Star game. First-round voting started this week, so let’s all support our hometown heroes with a quick click.

 

 

Speaking of blue, all eyes have been on our ladies in blue, the Chicago Sky. Pre-season buzz around rookies Kamilla Cardoso and Angel Reese led to a fever pitch last weekend in front of a sold out crowd in Indianapolis. Here at home, attendance is up over 80 percent at Wintrust Arena. On Wednesday, June 12, you can catch the Sky playing host to the undefeated Connecticut Sun, tickets are going fast.

Nothing in town is faster than the second annual NASCAR Chicago Street Race, Sports Event of the Year winner from Sports Business Journal Magazine. The urban course, music festival experience featuring Keith Urban, The Chainsmokers, The Black Keys and Lauren Alaina, and House Music’s 40th Anniversary showcase, will all come roaring into Grant Park July 6-7.

 

 

The Chicago Sports Commission is dedicated to making Chicago the number one U.S. destination for sports tourism,” said Kara Bachman, Executive Director, Chicago Sports Commission. “Our team works tirelessly to bring high-profile, major sporting events to our city, from international soccer matches to the return of the NHL Winter Classic. These events are the result of extensive planning and collaboration, and they significantly impact our local economy. By attracting visitors from around the globe, they boost local businesses, increase tourism, and generate substantial revenue. Moreover, these events enhance Chicago’s global profile as a premier hub for sports and entertainment, showcasing the dynamic spirit and vitality of our city.”

Chicago stands poised to benefit from increased tourism, heightened international visibility, and a bolstered local economy. These events exemplify the dynamic spirit of our metropolis, drawing in fans from around the globe and showcasing Chicago as a premier destination for world-class sports and entertainment.

Click here to get the inside scoop on Chicago Sports Commission activities and events by signing up for our quarterly Chicago Sports Report newsletter, event invitations, and volunteer opportunity news. Click here to discover Choose Chicago’s list of events and activities happening throughout the city.

We invite you to check out our recent Instagram post celebrating a beloved Chicago classic. Yesterday marked the 39th anniversary of the day Ferris Bueller and friends famously skipped school to attend the Cubs vs. Braves game at Wrigley Field, getting into all kinds of mischief throughout the city and suburbs. “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” the 1986 American teen comedy film written, co-produced, and directed by Chicagoan John Hughes, follows high school slacker Ferris, who, along with his best friend Cameron and girlfriend Sloane, spends a day in Chicago, breaking the fourth wall to share his techniques and inner thoughts. Our post highlights an iconic moment from this timeless film.

This week’s edition of The Business Pulse was a collaboration between Ellen Kaulig, Business Development Manager, Creative Industries, and Andrew Hayes, Head of Marketing & Communications, World Business Chicago.

We invite you to share this newsletter with your LinkedIn network. If you have an idea for a future topic of The Business Pulse, feel free to DM us.

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