The Chicago Bulls announced on Wednesday that they will move their practice facility from suburban Deerfield to a downtown Chicago location.
The Berto Center in Deerfield has been the Bulls’ hub for team practices, gameday shootarounds and summer workouts since 1992. It also houses the Bulls’ coaching and basketball operations staff offices.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel pitched Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf on the idea of moving to a downtown location.
“Mayor Emanuel has done a tremendous job promoting investment in the City of Chicago,” Reinsdorf said in a statement. “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. He thought centralizing our team assets inside the city limits would be a show of our ongoing commitment to Chicago. 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.”
The Bulls will look at a number of sites throughout the city, and no timetable has been set for the project, which will be privately funded.
“We have been happy at the Berto for many years,” said Bulls President and COO Michael Reinsdorf. “However, for us, the time is right for a move from both a basketball and a business standpoint. Our basketball operations group has been incredibly resourceful, but there is no longer space available to grow where we are now. And, 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.”
The Bulls, who intend to sell the Berto Center, could benefit from a new Chicago facility in a number of ways. Among the ideas being considered as event and educational space and improved digital and video capabilities. A move will also reduce the commute time of players who have to travel from Deerfield to the United Center following mandatory gameday shootarounds.