Learn more about Chicago Bears owner Virginia Halas McCaskey, including how she made her wealth, education and more.
Virginia’s son, George Halas McCaskey, is the Chairman of the team and oversees day-to-day operations of the team.
How They Acquired the Franchise: The team was originally purchased for $100 by George Halas in 1920. Virginia, his daughter, inherited the team when he died in November ’83. George Halas Jr. (Virginia’s brother) had been the next in line, but he died suddenly on the last day of the ’79 season. When Ralph Wilson died in 2014, Virginia became the oldest owner in the NFL.
Net Worth: The entire McCaskey family is worth $1.3 billion (per Forbes in 2015)
Franchise Valuation: $2.85 billion (per Forbes in 2017)
How They Made Their Money: The family’s wealth stems from the Bears, as it owns 80% of the franchise.
In the Owner’s Words: From Virginia in 2018, on her philosophy as an NFL owner: “Our Hall of Fame General Manager, Jim Finks, used to say, ‘Do the right thing.’ Those are pretty good words for any situation, including running a professional sports team.”
Despite repeated questioning, the senior members of the family have insisted the team will remain in their collective hands. George McCaskey said in 2017: “I’ve said it the same way every time. We have no intention of selling. My brother, Pat, says it very well. We intend to hold onto the Bears until the second coming. My brother, Mike, when he was president of the Bears, said it very well. We want to discourage people from even making inquiries. We have no intention [of selling]. There is no price. We have no intention.”
Political Donations: Virginia McCaskey has been a steady contributor over the last few years, doling out more than $70K in total. She's given a few thousand to local politicians—most notably $2K to Andrew McKenna's Senate bid in 2003-04. McKenna is the son of minority owner Andrew McKenna Sr. She gave $4K from ’09-10 to Family PAC Federal, a pro-Republican group that has contributed to campaigns of politicians such as Marco Rubio and Rand Paul. She has not been directly linked to any major politicians, though her contributions tend to lean to the right.
NFL Committees: All George: Stadium Committee, Stadium Security and Fan Behavior Committee, Super Bowl & Major Events Advisory Committee, International Committee, Conduct Committee, Workplace Diversity Committee, Hall of Fame Committee.
Next in Line: Virginia represents her 13 children and grandchildren as the chief holder of 80% of the Bears. The other ~20% is jointly owned by Andrew McKenna Sr. (former director and chairman of McDonald's) and Patrick Ryan (founder of consulting firm Aon—formerly based in Chicago—that sponsored Manchester United until 2014 and had its New York offices in the WTC in September ’01). McKenna Sr. is a former director at Aon as well.
Ted Phillips is the President/CEO (Virginia is notoriously hands-off), and he's the first non-Halas to occupy that role.
George McCaskey, the current team chairman, is probably next in line. But Virginia has nine other children and dozens of grandchildren to choose from as well. (Her second-oldest son, Tim, passed away in 2011.)