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Bears send fans mixed messages about deadline for season-ticket payments

In the wake of all the financial uncertainty caused by the coronavirus outbreak, the Bears told some fans this week that the deadline to pay for season tickets Friday has been delayed — for two weeks — even though a team spokesperson later denied that was the case.

Angela Pinta (left) has been a Bears season-ticker holder since 2010.
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In the wake of all the financial uncertainty caused by the coronavirus outbreak, the Bears told some fans this week that the deadline to pay for season tickets Friday has been delayed — for two weeks — even though a team spokesperson later denied that was the case.

On Wednesday, the Bears told fans calling the ticket office that the deadline had been moved back to April 3. Earlier this week, the team had rejected fans’ pleas to put off the deadline.

Asking for comment, the Bears said that the deadline remains Friday and that any season-ticket holder who would like to discuss their account is encouraged to call the ticket office at (847) 615-BEAR.

Still, some fans say a potential extension isn’t enough. Longtime season-ticket holder Angela Pinta noted the Packers had postponed their deadline for payment until June 1.

‘‘I’m disgusted,’’ said Pinta, who is from Hegewisch but now lives in Milwaukee. ‘‘The Bears double-doinked on their fans. This is the double-doink all over again. My heart hurt the day the football bounced off those uprights twice, and my heart breaks again because I’ve been a loyal fan and a season-ticket holder for almost 10 years now, and this is how a multimillion-dollar organization is going to treat us.’’

After the Bears announced in January that they were increasing season-ticket prices by an average of 3.9 percent, Pinta set aside the $2,805 needed for her three seats in the 400-level. But she now finds herself in an unexpected financial bind because her partner, Kelly Cushion, a school executive, isn’t sure how she might be affected by Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers’ decision to close schools in an attempt to contain the spread of COVID-19.

‘‘I’m going to have to pay all the household bills,’’ said Pinta, an overnight nurse supervisor who thinks she might have to pick up more overtime shifts. ‘‘So mortgage, utilities, we already live rather frugally. . . . And, of course, she has student loans and things like that, so I’m going to have to pick up the slack.’’

Pinta, who is in the Bear costume, has the money to buy her season tickets, but would rather save that money now and pay her statement at a later date.
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Pinta tried pleading her case for a longer extension Wednesday, but she said the team wouldn’t budge.

‘‘I called the Bears’ ticket office, and they just seemed like they were almost annoyed that I brought up the Packers,’’ Pinta said. ‘‘The lady I spoke to said, ‘Well, are you a Packers season-ticket holder?’ Well, no. Of course, I’m not.’’

Like Pinta, several other season-ticket holders said they would like the Bears to postpone the payment deadline even further.

Kyle Manning, an insurance adjuster, said that while his bill for tickets isn’t a ‘‘huge burden,’’ he would like to wait a few months to pay because there are still a lot of unknowns around COVID-19.

‘‘I’m not sure there will be any more clarity on April 3 than what we’ll have on [March] 20,’’ Manning wrote in a message to the Sun-Times.

One season-ticket holder suggested the Bears lighten the financial load by offering payment plans that span the coming months.

Another proposed allowing fans who can’t afford tickets in 2020 to take a year off, then allow them to renew their package in 2021. Under current rules, fans who miss a season would lose their season tickets.

As for the Bulls and Blackhawks, the teams say they will honor tickets for postponed games when they are rescheduled. If a game gets canceled or isn’t open to fans, both teams plan to offer a credit for a future game or a refund.

Meanwhile, the ticket situation with the Cubs and White Sox remains fluid. Both teams are working with Major League Baseball, which has postponed its season, to determine plans for 2020.

‘‘Fans should hold on to their tickets until a ticket procedure on rescheduled games is announced at the appropriate time,’’ a Cubs spokesperson said in a statement. ‘‘Given the unprecedented nature and fluidity of the situation, we appreciate our fans’ continued support and patience.’’