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Bears inform Chicago that team has signed Arlington Park purchase agreement

Wednesday, Sep 29, 2021 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Daily Herald

The Chicago Bears reportedly have signed an agreement to purchase the Arlington Park property in Arlington Heights, putting the storied NFL franchise closer to building the state-of-the-art suburban stadium that founder George Halas first envisioned 46 years ago.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot confirmed the deal late Tuesday night, after it first was reported by The Athletic, which said the Bears would announce the news Wednesday morning.

“Tonight, the Bears informed us that they signed a purchase agreement for the Arlington Park property,” Lightfoot stated. “We are not surprised by this move. We remain committed to continuing the work to keep the team in Chicago and have advised the Bears that we remain open to discussions.”

Reached late Tuesday, Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes declined to comment on the reported deal. When asked if the Bears might make an announcement as soon as Wednesday, Hayes said, “Well, we’ll see what happens.”

* More from The Athletic

“We are not surprised by this move. We remain committed to continuing the work to keep the team in Chicago and have advised the Bears that we remain open to discussions,” a spokesperson for the mayor’s office said in a statement to The Athletic. “However, just as the Bears view this as a business decision so does the City. This season, Soldier Field signed a major contract with the Chicago Fire and just last weekend Soldier Field hosted the Shamrock Series — both of which are lucrative for the Chicago Park District and local economy.

“These examples and others demonstrate that Soldier Field remains a very sought-after venue, and, as the Mayor has said many times, overall, the City and Park District must explore all options to both enhance the visitor and fan experience at Soldier Field year-round and maximize revenues. Therefore, we must do what’s in the best economic interests of our taxpayers and maximize the financial benefits at the important asset that is Soldier Field. As for the Bears, the Mayor has said numerous times, our door in City Hall remains open to engage the Bears.”

Mayor Lori Lightfoot added in a tweet later Tuesday, “My statement still stands on the Bears: my admin remains committed to continuing the work to keep the team in Chicago. As I have said numerous times, our door in City Hall remains open.”

* NBC 5

The biggest stumbling block for any potential Bears relocation is their lease with the city of Chicago at Soldier Field, which runs through 2033. The team could opt out of the lease in 2026, with a financial penalty of more than $80 million to do so.

       

139 Comments
  1. - Galway Bay - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 5:00 am:

    Forbes pegs value of Bears at about 4B. They can afford the lease penalty. Maybe this time they really pull the trigger.


  2. - Montrose - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 6:30 am:

    I think we have found the thing that would actually cause a Chicago mayor to loose their reelection.


  3. - TJ - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 6:32 am:

    I’m in favor of anything that replaces the dump that is Soldier Field, be that in Chicago or the suburbs. What an absolutely botched renovation.


  4. - Independent - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 6:44 am:

    And if the Bears aren’t ready to break the lease by 2026 the buyout fee declines each year thereafter until 2033. I’m not sure what Chicago can come up with to keep them. I doubt the city/state taxpayers would want to cough up the funds anyway.


  5. - Maddog - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 6:45 am:

    Get ready for a second Chicago NFL franchise


  6. - PublicServant - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 6:55 am:

    Now can they buy an Offensive Line?


  7. - Ok - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 7:11 am:

    They are going to move


  8. - Flyin' Elvis'-Utah Chapter - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 7:12 am:

    What they did to Soldier Field was a sin.

    Maybe they can put another incredible museum where that atrocity stands.


  9. - Ok - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 7:15 am:

    And, really, at this point, let them make their own poor financial decision. Large stadiums in the suburbs are so 1990s. If they can do what LA did, it will require billions of their own money. Otherwise, it is just a stadium in a sea of parking and horrendous traffic. I will just watch on TV like I always do.


  10. - up2now - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 7:24 am:

    Arlington Heights… yes, THAT will fix the offensive line (snark)


  11. - Bruce( no not him) - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 7:50 am:

    $80 Million. That’s not a penalty, that’s pocket lint, compared to multi-billion stadium cost.


  12. - Huh? - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 8:04 am:

    How are the Bears going to build a “state of the art” stadium when they can’t build a winning team.


  13. - sulla - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 8:06 am:

    That $80 million penalty is barely more than the Bears paid to Mike Glennon and Nick Foles for a combined 4 starts at QB.


  14. - MaddyMoon - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 8:07 am:

    =Get ready for a second Chicago NFL franchise=

    LOL, the NFL would never put a second team in chicago especially with all the growing media markets in the sunbelt and the west. A team can still be called the chicago bears and play in a stadium 25 miles outside of the city. Heck the new york Giants technically play in New Jersey…


  15. - Sox Fan - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 8:14 am:

    Do the mccaskey’s have the $2 billion needed to build the stadium that they want? If not, who pays for it?


  16. - DuPage Guy - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 8:16 am:

    Shade thrown back by Lightfoot

    “At the time, Lightfoot referred to the Bears’ bid as “a negotiating tactic.”

    “As a season ticketholder and longtime Bears fan, I am committed to keeping the ‘Chicago’ name in our football team,” she said. “And like most Bears fans, we want the organization to focus on putting a winning team on the field, beating the Packers finally and being relevant past October. Everything else is noise.”"


  17. - Stones - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 8:18 am:

    The trend of NFL teams moving to the suburbs of major cities isn’t new. The demise of horse racing in Illinois just made the Bears move feasible at this time. I’m curious as to what becomes of Soldier Field when the Bears move.


  18. - Woooooo - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 8:19 am:

    Good riddance to the Bears and they’re truly awful setup of a “stadium” downtown.

    How a stadium can be in the middle of a downtown, yet still feel as isolated as if it were in the suburbs is beyond me, but the Bears figured it out.

    If you need any help packing boxes or need someone to take a sledgehammer to any parts of the stadium, please give me a call


  19. - Just Me 2 - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 8:24 am:

    They need to change their name. Can’t call themselves Chicago Bears when they leave. That is a hill I will die on. You can’t benefit from great brand recognition and then not pay for it.


  20. - Pundent - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 8:31 am:

    =You can’t benefit from great brand recognition and then not pay for it.=

    Neither the Giants or the Jets play in the state city/state they’re named after. From the time the Soldier Field renovation was completed a move to the suburbs was inevitable.


  21. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 8:32 am:

    The Dallas Cowboys haven’t played in Dallas since before Kristen shot J.R., both New York franchises play in Jersey, everything is legal in New Jersey, including names it seems, heck, even the “Washington Football Team” plays in Maryland…

    Also, if anyone thinks the McCaskey family is going to give up the 3rd largest media market, and the largest unshared media market so another franchise can come and play “here”… nope.

    I hope it’s a retractable roof facility.


  22. - BigLou - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 8:33 am:

    What’s an $80MM penalty when they will increase team value by way more than that.


  23. - Streamwood Retiree - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 8:35 am:

    I agree with Just Me 2

    This will ruin the I-290 extension. Will have to find an alternate route to my doctor. I also suspect fans will start infiltrating the USPS parking lot as well as disrupting the flow of mail trucks.


  24. - West Side the Best Side - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 8:36 am:

    How about Chicagoland Bears, or does Arlington Heights being in The Land Beyond O’Hare preclude that.


  25. - Dysfunction Junction - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 8:37 am:

    ==They need to change their name. Can’t call themselves Chicago Bears when they leave. ==

    “Bear down, Suburban Bears, make every play clear the way for victory”

    Has a nice ring to it, right? Regarding the stadium they’re leaving behind, I believe the Chicago Fire still play there, and maybe if there are fewer time conflicts, the space could be used for more concerts and other events (Lollapalooza?).

    If they do decide to reclaim that lakefront property, there are ways to do it. In the past, mayors have elected to act at night. Anyone remember Miegs Field?


  26. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 8:38 am:

    Can the Bears finance the stadium on their own? I don’t think the state would or should help, and Arlington Heights doesn’t have the deep pockets Chicago does.


  27. - Cheryl44 - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 8:38 am:

    Will they take the spaceship that crashed there with them?


  28. - BigLou - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 8:39 am:

    Couldn’t naming rights be sold for $80MM


  29. - Cheap Seats - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 8:39 am:

    It’s a huge potential boon for the area and the franchise. The lease penalty is change in the couch cushion for a franchise who’s value is going to skyrocket with gambling revenue.

    On top of an infinitely better fan experience this surely domed, but at least retractable roof stadium will allow final 4’s, Super Bowls (we just won’t be playing in it), college playoff games and more to the area. This is way bigger than a place for the Bears to play.


  30. - Friendly Bob Adams - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 8:45 am:

    All this fuss for 10 or so games a year? It’s not worth the trouble.

    Let them go and avoid the traffic on 53 as best you can.


  31. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 8:45 am:

    ===Can the Bears finance the stadium on their own?===

    They 100% can, but it’s a “mom and pop” billion dollar “small business”, do they want to (mentally) run the franchise like a global brand and billion dollar(s) business, with guaranteed cash for the next 10 years (the TV rights alone cover all operating costs every year… plus)

    The problem seemingly is the stadium footprint and the seating capacity to make other large events possible (college football championship at 85,000 seats plus)

    This small family business has a big vision now, it seems.


  32. - Ferris Bueller - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 8:45 am:

    People’s obsession with the name is super odd. They’ll remain the Chicago Bears, it doesn’t matter that the stadium is in Arlington Heights (or Rolling Meadows). The city won’t even contest it, not that they own the rights to use the word Chicago. The big question is with that 326 acres do they keep the track operation and build a stadium? The track revenue would offset some of the costs and the seasons are opposite…same parking lots, grandstand in its current location and the new stadium built on the property. Do the right thing Ginny, keep the track running!


  33. - Yeah Right - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 8:49 am:

    The “Arlington Heights Bears”? One more reason to cringe while watching.


  34. - Brian - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 8:51 am:

    I’d be stunned if the Bears didn’t try for some public funding of the new stadium. Not sure if there’s an ‘increase hotel taxes’ option, similar to what Nevada did for the Raiders

    Public funding for recent NFL stadium builds:
    https://buffalonews.com/news/local/pay-to-play-how-21-nfl-stadiums-have-been-financed/article_319a3686-0c28-11ec-a568-dbcbdd817498.html


  35. - Flyin' Elvis'-Utah Chapter - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 8:53 am:

    Domes, retractable or not, are the thing for a league thats all about high score games.

    10-3 defensive battles in the snow don’t hold the attention of today’s viewers.

    I’ll get back on my porch now.


  36. - Dysfunction Junction - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 8:55 am:

    ==I’d be stunned if the Bears didn’t try for some public funding of the new stadium.==

    Nope. No public funding, That’s the hill I’ll die on. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.


  37. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 8:56 am:

    Retractable roofs means “Final Four” events too… the region has had them in Minnesota and Indiana, why not Illinois


  38. - Moved East - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 8:56 am:

    I agree that $80 million is nothing to move. Bears would make that up in the first year with the bigger stadium revenues.


  39. - Frank talks - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 8:57 am:

    This will put the McCaskeys in a good position to sell the team. Get out of the goofy stadium that is Soldier Field. Have a deal inked for a new stadium. It’s a $4 billion dollar franchise according to Forbes. A new billion dollar stadium with easier access, a dedicated Metra stop. A concert venue all summer. If stadium is retractable add conventions to that space as well during off-season. Pretty attractive probably to a sports equity management group. Plus McCaskeys can finally cash out on grandpas Decatur Staley’s dream.


  40. - Inverted Pyramid - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 8:58 am:

    ==Large stadiums in the suburbs are so 1990s.==

    LA Rams/Chargers don’t think so.
    NY Giants/Jets don’t think so.
    Dallas Cowboys don’t think so.

    That is the three other of the top four metro areas in the United States with new, suburban NFL stadiums in the past 12 years.

    Despite the spaceship they landed atop the columns, Soldier Field is actually a very good stadium to watch an event in-person, in a beautiful location.

    Outside of that, it does not have much going for it. Terrible traffic, hardly any public transit, no real walking-distance amenities (read bars/restaurants). Already outdated facilities. Lowest capacity in the NFL. No feasible way to change that dynamic (read recent stories).

    But the real problem is the Park District/City ownership which severely limits revenue streams and makes life very difficult on the Bears (ask someone from the Bears about what they really think of, and knew about, the deal to bring the Fire back to Soldier Field).

    That’s what this is all about. Adding revenue streams for a charter franchise of the most popular league in the US, so they can catch up with others. I don’t fault them at all for looking to Arlington Heights, a location that actually works much better for both the franchise and their season-ticket-holding fan base.

    I love the legend of the Monsters of the Midway crushing their opposition on the cold, wind-swept shores of Lake Michigan.

    But what I really will love is a franchise that moves into the 21st Century to finally become (hopefully) become the tremendously successful team they were in their first 50 years. And that may also take the McCaskeys finally giving up the (galloping) ghost.

    Let the Fire have full control over Soldier Field; it actually is a great soccer venue.

    And Bear Down Arlington Heights!


  41. - Ferris Bueller - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 8:59 am:

    Stop…do we call the Chicago Wolves the Rosemont Wolves?


  42. - Thomas Paine - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 8:59 am:

    === I think we have found the thing that would actually cause a Chicago mayor to loose their reelection. ===

    The Bears want a $2 billion stadium built on public land, largely enjoyed by suburbanites, for the benefit of one politically-connected family of billionaires.

    What do you think the Mayor’s political fate would have been if she had said yes to that?

    Lambeau Field has no retractable roof, no corporate naming rights, seats only 80K, and is 60 years old.

    The problem is not the stadium, the problem is The Chicago Bears are not The Green Bay Packers, who have made the post season 15 out of the last 20 years. A team as good as Green Bay in Chicago would be as valuable as The Patriots.


  43. - DuPage Saint - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 9:01 am:

    The NFL has been helping teams finance stadiums for years. That plus gambling will go a long way. The Bears do not need state money


  44. - Hamlets Ghost - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 9:04 am:

    If Soldier Field is demolished that creates a site for a new White Sox stadium, perhaps with better architecture


  45. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 9:04 am:

    Maybe we can attract another franchise to play in Soldier Field? The Bears are a bad organization, one that has been absolutely owned by its fiercest rival, the Packers. How many coaches and quarterbacks has this team been through since the championship era? Goodbye to bad ownership, and maybe hello to people committed to winning?


  46. - Pundent - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 9:05 am:

    Arlington Heights is a good choice. The train line is there to make the reverse commute easy or to allow parking at Metra lots up and down the line. The downtown will be in reach from the stadium and 53 will provide decent access. I don’t expect their will be much of an appetite for public funding but that might not stop them from asking. Didn’t stop the Rickett’s.


  47. - Moses Moreno - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 9:06 am:

    Virginia is 98. Hopefully, this is part of a plan for a sale of the team. Spend $198mm to increase the value of the franchise by much more than that and get a real owner.

    Or, the mccaskeys do it and botch it.


  48. - Good Gravy - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 9:12 am:

    “Our door is open” is usually said by the party that has the leverage. I’m not sure that’s the case here.


  49. - OneMan - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 9:12 am:

    Suffice to say without a significant public funding option (which I don’t see happening) the franchise is going to be significantly leveraged.

    It does make a sale easier for the next generation, however.


  50. - Wally - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 9:14 am:

    ==Arlington Heights is a good choice. The train line is there to make the reverse commute easy or to allow parking at Metra lots up and down the line. The downtown will be in reach from the stadium and 53 will provide decent access. I don’t expect their will be much of an appetite for public funding but that might not stop them from asking. Didn’t stop the Rickett’s.==

    To my admittedly untrained eye, it seems like they’ll need to have some changes made to at least the route 14 exit on 53, as it isn’t your typical clover exit. Also, the transfer from 53 to and from 90 can be pretty rough. Not the transfer from 290 to 294 coming together rough, but bad enough during rush hour as it is. Makes me wonder what the State’s financial role will be in this, even if they don’t give direct subsidies.

    At least 90 past O’Hare is quite a few lanes now, and you can really fly once you get past the airport.


  51. - Michelle Flaherty - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 9:17 am:

    You see Sunday’s game?
    Not exactly negotiating from a position of strength.
    Hey, if the fine folks in Arlington Heights wanna use their hard-earned property tax dollars to bailout these losers, godspeed.

    Remember, the Bears came up with the Soldier Field redesign and lobbied it through the GA. If they didn’t have the foresight to come up with a better stadium, how can you expect them to have the foresight to come up with a better team?


  52. - Super Fudge - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 9:20 am:

    will the Bears retain Mike Madigan or Ed Burke to get a property tax break in Arlington Heights?


  53. - Jose Abreu's Next Homer - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 9:23 am:

    Minnesota is a translucent roof which is killing tons of birds. Not sure why folks think their name would change as every franchise does this (SF, Dallas, NY, Buffalo, Las Vegas). Love the crying about the name.


  54. - Bigtwich - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 9:24 am:

    There is a lot of laughter in Decatur today.


  55. - JoanP - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 9:25 am:

    Good riddance. Let them pick Arlington Heights’ pockets.

    Also, they should be required to restore Soldier Field so that it can get its landmark status back.


  56. - BigLou - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 9:25 am:

    I wonder if they sell the team before the stadium is completed or even shortly after the purchase of the land is completed, it would prevent the many heirs of Virginia McCaskey from fighting each other for years to come and she probably knows it. She also knows once the contract is signed the heris are going to have a lot more money so they can’t complain.


  57. - Donnie Elgin - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 9:25 am:

    Arlington Heights will offer them a chance to start from scratch and really create something special. Learn from the disaster of the Soldier Field UFO redesign. The new stadium needs to be able to host a Superbowl, add more bathrooms, fix parking in terms of the amount and getting out quickly, design seats with better sightlines, and be closer to the field. $80 million is chump change to get out out of Soldier Field


  58. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 9:26 am:

    ==How about Chicagoland Bears, or does Arlington Heights being in The Land Beyond O’Hare preclude that.==

    Or the Schaumburg Bears of Arlington Heights.


  59. - Jose Abreu's Next Homer - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 9:27 am:

    Very surprised to hear Mayor Lightfoot on 670 the score this morning. Mully and Haugh are both white. I thought she only does interviews with POC now.


  60. - From DaZoo - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 9:28 am:

    The Lions played in Pontiac for 26 years before moving back downtown Detroit. As others have mentioned, there are a number of other examples as well. And not just in the NFL.

    My biggest concern is designing the facility to open the possibilities for so many other types of events. Events that can be hosted regularly (annually, monthly, etc.). The Superbowl would be nice but that may only be a one-time deal. The weather during first week of February hasn’t been too friendly a few times over the past decade in Chicago.


  61. - Jose Abreu's Next Homer - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 9:28 am:

    Why would another franchise want to move into Soldier Field? Smallest capacity in the league and you can’t own it and get additional revenue. No NFL team is coming to Soldier Field. That is not in the cards.


  62. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 9:29 am:

    ==Or, the mccaskeys do it and botch it.==

    They probably botch it by selling it to a friend of Stan Kronke.


  63. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 9:30 am:

    The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim as an name was part of legal action, by Anaheim.

    Meaning… Chicago gonna sue to have the “Arlington Heights Bears of Chicago”?

    The connection to the name or use of Chicago is 817th on the list of worries to build a multi billion dollar building on that smaller than ideal footprint and parking issues that will also be stressed… oh, and expressway access… and infrastructure taking folks to the building… maybe 818th of a worry.


  64. - Wally - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 9:31 am:

    ==Maybe they can put another incredible museum where that atrocity stands.==

    Two of the “better” ideas I saw on twitter for what to do with Soldier Field:

    1. Bring back NASCAR racing.
    2. Even better, partner with the Shedd, flood it, and hold whale races.


  65. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 9:35 am:

    Compared to the history of stadium issues in other cities, I just can’t get as worked up about this as the situations in say St. Louis, Cleveland, LA, etc. over the years. Yes, the Bears agreed to a bad deal, and I have a hard time relating to billionaires, but their deal is terrible compared to their peers. As I recall they get a bad split by comparison on parking, concessions, etc. with the smallest seating capacity in the NFL and a landlocked stadium with no possibility of any supporting businesses like restaurants, clubs, hotels, etc. to keep people around before and after games. So I guess if they move, they move as far as I am concerned. Preferably without a ton of subsidies, but if the local municipalities around Arlington want to do something, knock themselves out.


  66. - John Lopez - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 9:35 am:

    All these comments, and something everyone missing — an Arlington Heights stadium will be owned by the Bears, no more middleman leasing like Soldier Field with the Chicago Park District/City of Chicago, meaning Bears receive revenues from all other events held at new site (naming rights alone will cover any penalty).

    I agree with OW, as the Bears will join the likes of the Dallas Cowboys (Irving & Arlington stadium sites since 1972), New York Giants (East Rutherford, NJ since 1978), Jets (went with Giants in 80s), and lately San Francisco 49ers (Santa Clara, two counties away from Candlestick Point).

    As for corporate sponsorship naming rights, how does Boeing Field sound?


  67. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 9:36 am:

    ==Two of the “better” ideas I saw on twitter for what to do with Soldier Field:==

    Or ask George Lucas if he needs a second museum location, and tell him he can use Soldier Field. With the JRTC as a satellite location if needed.


  68. - Jose Abreu's Next Homer - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 9:39 am:

    The lawsuit and a related political and public relations battle sought to reverse the team’s official name change from Anaheim Angels to Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, which the city characterized as a breach of the team’s lease on the city-owned Angel Stadium of Anaheim. The city was unsuccessful, as both a trial jury and an appellate court ruled in the team’s favor. the team announced it was changing its name to Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, an attempt to market the team as being from Southern California


  69. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 9:40 am:

    Also, has there ever been any talk of Loyola or DePaul restarting football? (They haven’t had teams since the 30s). Maybe they could start up football again and play home games at Soldier Field.


  70. - Give Us Barabbas - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 9:46 am:

    If Soldier Field is done, we could put in a nice little lakefront executive airport in that space…


  71. - Amalia - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 9:46 am:

    Meh. Didn’t grow up a Bears fan, not after tickets, follow them, but not my main focus. think the SoFi stadium was built on horse racing space? so this would follow that idea. the Bears want hotel, gambling, Disneyland like Wrigley only bigger, roof, Super Bowl. the City can keep the Fire, maybe draw the Red Stars, get bigger concerts than you can get at any outdoor stadium. Oh, and leave the Sox right where they are, the park is just fine. it’s a neighborhood baseball team.


  72. - Cool Papa Bell - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 9:50 am:

    Looks like the Arlington Park parcel is 326 acres and the SoFi Stadium build in LA was 298 acres. So the footprint should work for the Bears.

    What they are missing are the billions of dollars that Stan Kronke and the Walton’s have to build something like that. I agree with others that this might be a play to make the team a more valuable asset to sell.

    Still a long way to go.


  73. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 9:51 am:

    - Cool Papa Bell -

    That include parking? I actually don’t know, as the discussion of footprint and parking is at times muddied.

    Thanks.


  74. - Can - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 9:53 am:

    == think the SoFi stadium was built on horse racing space? ==

    Correct. That space used to be Hollywood Park, a horse racing track.


  75. - Original Rambler - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 9:55 am:

    Of course they’re going to ask for a State subsidy. It will be interesting to see how all the players respond to the request.


  76. - Central Illinois - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 10:01 am:

    Dropped our Bears season tickets this year after 15 years. Was on the waiting list 10 years prior to securing the tickets.
    Bears Ticket office did a good job of following up and giving us plenty of options to renew.

    In the end we made the decision based on safety concerns of going into that area of the City of Chicago, with no end in sight to control the violence and crime. We did not feel safe taking our grandkids to games anymore.


  77. - JS Mill - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 10:02 am:

    =All this fuss for 10 or so games a year? It’s not worth the trouble.=

    While I will never advocate for public money to billionaires, but a domed stadium would be used for far more than 10 NFL games.

    Concerts, NCAA Basketball, NCAA Football (see Dallas stadium etc.) auto shows are just a very few examples.


  78. - MisterJayEm - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 10:04 am:

    “The Dallas Cowboys haven’t played in Dallas since before Kristen shot J.R.”

    SPOILERS‼

    “There is a lot of laughter in Decatur today.”

    But mostly from the cemetery.

    – MrJM


  79. - Blake - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 10:05 am:

    Being in the suburbs doesn’t make something any less Chicago in the real world than being where they are.


  80. - Give Me A Break - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 10:05 am:

    And now we have the subject that will define and dictate how and when the 2022 Spring Session ends.


  81. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 10:07 am:

    ==In the end we made the decision based on safety concerns ==

    I also wonder if the McCaskeys’ disinterest in building a winning dynasty with Super Bowl contention every year might have also played a part in your decision.


  82. - MisterJayEm - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 10:07 am:

    The answer to “What do we do with Soldier Field?” seems pretty obvious: the new location of the James R. Thompson Center.

    Two birds, one stone.

    Easy peasy.

    – MrJM


  83. - Frank talks - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 10:10 am:

    Make Soldier Field the Chicago casino site. Half kidding


  84. - MisterJayEm - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 10:14 am:

    And Bears or no Bears, the phrase “moving to Arlington Heights” is incredibly depressing.

    – MrJM


  85. - jimbo - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 10:24 am:

    I’m late to the conversation, but not living in AH, I can’t imagine why an AH resident would want this. An utter traffic nightmare.

    Also- while gaming revenue at the AH site keeps coming up, I can’t see why Churchill Downs would sell to something that will have gaming since their ‘thing’ seems to be to protect River’s casino. Unless CD is the “gaming partner”


  86. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 10:25 am:

    “Very surprised to hear Mayor Lightfoot on 670 the score this morning. Mully and Haugh are both white. I thought she only does interviews with POC now.”

    That was just for one occasion, her one year anniversary interview. This was a one time publicity stunt to bring awareness to the lack of diversity with members of the media.


  87. - Westender - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 10:26 am:

    ==In the end we mad the decision based on safety concerns==
    I sure hope you stay out of St. Louis if you are afraid of Chicago around Soldier Field!


  88. - Precinct Captain - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 10:28 am:

    The Alaska Bears


  89. - Six Degrees of Separation - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 10:32 am:

    2 NFL teams in Chicago? Well, there were the Chicago Cardinals, who notably moved to St. Louis before moving to the Sun Belt. The LA Rams are the only team in modern history to relocate FROM the Sun Belt to the Midwest (again, St. Louis), and it didn’t hold as 20 years later they were back in La-la-land. Besides that, that stadium. Chicago would have to make Soldier Field look more like what the Bears want it to be in order to attract a team, and if the city’s gonna do that, why not do it for the Bears?


  90. - Skeptic - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 10:33 am:

    “Or the Schaumburg Bears of Arlington Heights.” I thought Arlington Park was closer to Mount Prospect or Palatine than Schaumburg…

    “What to do with Soldier Field?” How about building a small downtown airport?


  91. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 10:33 am:

    == Dropped our Bears season tickets this year after 15 years. Was on the waiting list 10 years prior to securing the tickets.
    So 25 years ago, 1996, at the apex of violent crime, you thought it was a good idea, but now that violent crime is down from that, it’s a bad idea?


  92. - Scott - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 10:34 am:

    Of course teams have to be named based on the city they’re in…we have the well known teams: Paradise Raiders, Arlington Cowboys, Orchard Park Bills, Santa Clara 49ers (who’s stadium is literally over 30 miles away from the closest point in SF), East Rutherford or New Jersey Giants and Jets, Inglewood Rams, Inglewood Chargers, and Glendale Cardinals.

    Also, the lease penalty goes down every year after 2026 until 2033. Look at the Sofi Stadium timeline: announced in January 2015, “broke ground” November 2016, took 4 years to build, opened September 2020. If the Bears buy the property, spend a bit of time making plans, announce it in January 2022, then if they follow the same timeline, that puts them opening it in September 2028. Plenty of time to come up with the prorated penalty money.


  93. - Amalia - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 10:39 am:

    re fear of violence and Da Big Bad Wolf says violent crime is down in Chicago, that ignores that murder is up, here, there, everywhere across the country. significantly up. also, CWB Chicago has debunked the Police Supt.claim on carjackings…down from 80 per month to 20/30/40…as they have assessed that there was never 80 per month. lots of carjackings happening close to Soldier Field. the fear is real. more reason for the Bears to move.


  94. - Chris - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 10:42 am:

    == So 25 years ago, 1996, at the apex of violent crime, you thought it was a good idea==

    25 years ago there was no FB to get people all riled up about stuff.


  95. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 10:49 am:

    ==So 25 years ago, 1996, at the apex of violent crime, you thought it was a good idea==

    1996 was also the apex of the Wanny years.


  96. - Nuke The Whales - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 10:50 am:

    ==In the end we made the decision based on safety concerns of going into that area of the City of Chicago, with no end in sight to control the violence and crime==
    You mean the booming South Loop?


  97. - Thomas Paine - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 10:51 am:

    The Green Bay Packers play in a small stadium, with no roof, no naming rights, that was built in 1957.

    The primary challenge for the Chicago Bears is that their audience right now is 50+ white folks who want to relive the glory of 1985.

    The Bulls are gonna face the same challenge soon.

    At the end of the day, you have to have fans to make money, and the fact that the Bears feel they are struggling to make money when they have a 10M person media market all to themselves says something about the Bears and nothing about Soldier Field.


  98. - Lucky Pierre - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 10:53 am:

    The smallest stadium in the NFL and one of only three without a corporate sponsor increases the likelihood of a move

    The two newest state of the art stadiums for Las Vegas and LA stadiums are both in the suburbs

    The Mc Caskey’s are to blame for a flawed concept from the start.

    They insisted on Bear weather outdoor stadium with grass instead of a multipurpose arena that could get a Super Bowl and Final 4

    The stadium simply could not retain the historic columns and be renovated to get more seats midfield without looking like a spaceship


  99. - jm - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 10:57 am:

    A win for Bears ticket holders, most of whom live in the North/Northwest suburbs


  100. - lake county democrat - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 10:58 am:

    If I’m an AH resident, why do I want this? It’s a major quality of life change every Sunday during the NFL season, some preseason games, and who knows how many other events. Euclid is the main E-W feeder - are they going to tear down all those houses that bound it going East? Arlington Heights Road, which connects to the Palatine Road limited access highway, already backs up on weekends with shopping traffic. Maybe $ always prevail, but a mega stadium probably needs a zoning change and a lot of infrastructure improvements which I’m not sure the voters out there are automatically going to be on board for.


  101. - Cool Papa Bell - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 11:04 am:

    @OW - The best I can figure it includes the entire footprint of the stadium complex. But I wanted to know more…

    I used google maps to measure the size of the two parcels and the square feet to acres truths out to those figures above.


  102. - H-W - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 11:09 am:

    “We are not surprised by this move. We remain committed to continuing the work to keep the team in Chicago and have advised the Bears that we remain open to discussions.”

    This is almost verbatim what any city says when any corporate entity announces it is abandoning it operations. In Decatur, in 2003, Firestone made a similar announcement, and the city of Decatur made the same statement. In the end, the plant was closed.

    Anyone who thinks the Bears will stay in Chicago is wrong. Once a formal announcement is made, corporations move forward with their plans - they do not hesitate. Cities need to understand this, and plan accordingly for the economic impact that will follow.


  103. - Candy Dogood - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 11:11 am:

    I don’t think the area is really planned well to be able to handle the influx on game days, etc, but I think that the Chicago Bears should be required to change their name. The kids that grew up in the suburbs and used to lie when they went to college and say they were from Chicago when they spent about the same amount of time in Chicago as a downstate kid does on field trips to Chicago shouldn’t be rewarded with an NFL team that does the same thing.

    They won’t be the Chicago Bears. They’re going to be on the other side of Chicago from Des Plaines. It will be faster to get to Kenosha by car than to get into the loop by car. This is obscene and they should be required to change their name.

    Chicago deserves better. What’s next? They’re going to introduce cheerleaders so they can sell calendars?


  104. - dan l - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 11:15 am:

    After last week’s dismantling at the hands of the browns, historically awful offensive performance, 10 years without a playoff win, bottom 5 offensive output in the last 6 years, and the realization of the possibility that their first round quarterback might be more of A guy rather than THE guy, residents of arlington heights said they’d rather have a Olive Garden or a Chili’s.


  105. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 11:18 am:

    - Cool Papa Bell -

    Thanks.

    The footprint question should be debunked then.


  106. - City Zen - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 11:23 am:

    I can see the UIUC/Wisconsin game being played in Arlington. Makes a lot of sense for Northwestern to move big game matchups out there too. Why limit yourself to selling 10,000 seats to Michigan fans when they’d buy 40,000?


  107. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 11:26 am:

    ==residents of arlington heights said they’d rather have a Olive Garden or a Chili’s==

    Or an Applebee’s.


  108. - thisjustinagain - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 11:26 am:

    1) Lightfoot has no game and no hope of changing the Bear’s minds. Bears wouldn’t sign that contract if they weren’t intent on moving. Lightfoot has no leverage to stop the move in the end; Bears pay the contract break fee and are gone. Can’t sue over the name either; tons of businesses outside Chicago still call themselves “Chicago (fill in type of business)”.
    2) The Bears in a new stadium are still the Bears, unless they figure out how to hire, staff, coach, and win consistently.


  109. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 11:28 am:

    I don’t see why y’all are so upset about the name. Almost everyone who claims to be “from Chicago” is actually from one of the suburban towns. Also, the timing works about right so that they won’t have to pay the lease penalty. It’s only 12 more years, the Bears can sit on the site for a few years before starting construction and have everything in place to move to the newly built stadium the moment the lease expires.


  110. - Sox Fan - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 11:30 am:

    ===Also, has there ever been any talk of Loyola or DePaul restarting football? (They haven’t had teams since the 30s). Maybe they could start up football again and play home games at Soldier Field.===

    I always thought UIC would be a good candidate for football, and soldier field is pretty close to that campus


  111. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 11:30 am:

    ==Will they take the spaceship that crashed there with them?==

    That’s what I was wondering…They can keep the $80 million if they promise to take the spaceship.


  112. - Pundent - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 11:34 am:

    The cost to build a modern NFL stadium is pushing $1B and beyond. In that context, and considering the additional revenue a new stadium would bring, an $80M lease penalty is merely a rounding error.


  113. - lake county democrat - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 11:37 am:

    SF or the south loop would be a great place for the White Sox to play.


  114. - Joe Bidenopolous - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 11:44 am:

    =====Also, has there ever been any talk of Loyola or DePaul restarting football? (They haven’t had teams since the 30s). Maybe they could start up football again and play home games at Soldier Field.===

    I always thought UIC would be a good candidate for football, and soldier field is pretty close to that campus==

    If any of these added a football program, they’d also have to add enough women’s sports to equal the number on the football team for Title IX purposes. Plus, football programs are expensive and net losers for virtually every school not in a Power 5 conference


  115. - anon2 - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 12:05 pm:

    == I thought Arlington Park was closer to Mount Prospect or Palatine than Schaumburg…==

    Actually, Rolling Meadows is right across the street.

    == If I’m an AH resident, why do I want this? ==

    The stadium is closer to residential Rolling Meadows. There may well be other productive uses of the land in addition to a stadium, which would increase property taxes. There are local sales taxes and perhaps amusement taxes. Hotels in Arlington Heights should benefit. It gives the village bragging rights…


  116. - DuPage - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 12:08 pm:

    @- Hamlets Ghost - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 9:04 am:

    ===If Soldier Field is demolished that creates a site for a new White Sox stadium, perhaps with better architecture===

    That would make naming easy. The “New Soldier Field”.


  117. - 33rd ward - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 12:27 pm:

    No way they get to keep the name. Looking at you LA Angels of A.

    Also, another team should be allowed to move in. We’re a big enough city. Time for a new Chicago Bears. One that actually can win and isn’t owned by one sad family.


  118. - Wally - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 12:31 pm:

    ===The stadium is closer to residential Rolling Meadows.==

    And Palatine is right across the street on the North side. Arlington Park is kind of in a weird location for Arlington Heights–it’s like a little appendage that juts into mostly Rolling Meadows but also Palatine, right next to 53.

    Only one stop away from downtown Arlington Heights on the train, which actually has a number of really nice restaurants. I could see the government liking this–the stadium will be away from most of their residents, but it may still be easy to relieve fans of their money before and after games.


  119. - From DaZoo - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 12:42 pm:

    -Cool Papa Bell & OW-
    Perhaps another comparison of land area is that AH is a bit smaller than the Meadowlands which incorporates both a football stadium and horse racing track.


  120. - DuPage - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 12:47 pm:

    I think the name “The Chicago Bears” is a trademark owned by the Chicago Bears. They could move anywhere they want and keep the name.


  121. - 33rd ward - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 12:48 pm:

    Wouldn’t Chicago own the Chicago trademark?


  122. - Dan Johnson - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 12:52 pm:

    FYI, there is an ongoing dispute between Union Pacific and Metra over continued operation of that service. This could be an opportunity to get innovative with some new franchisors to shuttle trains between the dedicated train station and the many stations with pretty nice downtowns up and down that line.

    No need to spend any state money or to float a public bond (which is basically spending state money) for the Bears, but hey, it’s probably a much better fit for everybody. I imagine the Chicago Park District is better off too.

    The Bears will be like everybody else in the suburbs: they just *say* they are from Chicago.


  123. - Anyone Remember - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 12:56 pm:

    Arlington Heights Staleys?


  124. - Michelle Flaherty - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 12:58 pm:

    Go ahead and move the Bears to Wally’s.

    Everyone’s already there anyway.


  125. - Louis G Atsaves - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 1:06 pm:

    It is a great business decision. They get to build the stadium that will fit their needs, we will get a Super Bowl and All Star Game finally, they will have plenty of close parking, the revenues of which remain in their own pocket, as opposed to underground lots that take forever to exit after the games or events, they can reinstate tailgating pre-game parties that Mayor Daley hated and and at one point banned, and they can put up a retractable domed roof which are now getting pretty commonplace in large stadiums with improved technology and designs. They can develop food courts and not have to share the income with the City.

    It is easy to drive to on highways from I294 or I394 with wide avenues surrounding it and a METRA train stadium.

    I’m sure funding won’t be an issue between the huge TV and streaming contracts, naming rights, suites and other amenities.

    The renovation of Soldier Field has been an atrocity for years and the Chicago Park District, who you would think would have the expertise, has had multiple issues with the playing field over the years.

    It sounds like $80 million to terminate the lease is a bargain for them. Good luck getting that type of revenue from the Chicago Fire and a few rock concerts the City is losing from rental and parking fees.

    If the City were smart, they would dismantle the modern renovation and restore the original look to the stadium, inside and out, similar to Wrigley Field, which is a smashing success and draw, even if the current team stinks. The stadium would blend in with the multiple museums again.

    My advice for the Bears is to go for it and plan their financial future. My advice to the City is to start planning for that major tenant to leave and what to do in the future.


  126. - Louis G Atsaves - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 1:09 pm:

    P.S. to my last comment. What is to stop the Chicago Fire from moving out there in the future and renting the facility?


  127. - Greta - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 1:16 pm:

    A dome in Arlington Heights means Super Bowls, College Bowl Games, Big Ten Championships, and maybe even NCAA Basketball Tournament games. In the long run, the Bears will argue, the State will make money.


  128. - Red Ketcher - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 1:17 pm:

    Awaiting “Agreement ” Details
    Suspect it’s Complex
    What Can Do ? What Can’t Do ?
    If Gambling - is CDI getting a piece ?
    If so , what Statutes need changed for that ?
    Or for anything else ?
    More Questions than Answers right now


  129. - Jose Abreu's Next Homer - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 1:50 pm:

    Chicago owns no trade marks for use of Chicago for sports names. See every team that played in Rosement at the Horizon and now teams in Hoffman Estates, and every other professional team that plays in suburubs. Also see Chicago “insert business name” when they have their business outside 606.


  130. - A Jack - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 1:51 pm:

    I think the renovations should be removed as others have stated. Then given its Romanesque appearance and military history, Chicago should bring back chariot races. That would provide employment for those out of work Arlington Park horses. And to bring in the big money, you could have political grudge match races. Who wouldn’t pay big money to see Rauner and Madigan racing wheel to wheel at Soldier Field?


  131. - Skeptic - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 2:06 pm:

    “In the long run, the Bears will argue, the State will make money.” That’s the argument made for public funding of any stadium and every time anyone actually studies the question, it turns out to be complete claptrap. There, I did it.


  132. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 2:28 pm:

    This Sun-Times story seems to sack the Arlington deal:

    https://chicago.suntimes.com/bears/2021/9/29/22700833/bears-arlington-mccaskeys-stadium-winning-team-whats-that-matt-nagy-ryan-pace-justin-fields


  133. - Bruce( no not him) - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 3:26 pm:

    I’m a lifelong Bears fan. I’ve never been to a game at Soldiers Field. I’ll probably never attend at a new stadium.
    I have a feeling the majority of fans really don’t care where the games are as long as they are on TV.


  134. - Boone's is Back - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 3:34 pm:

    Lori read this wrong the whole way through and thumbed her nose at them. Just another example of digging her head in the sand when she doesn’t want to face reality.


  135. - NorthsideNoMore - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 4:18 pm:

    Dallas Cowboys play in Arlington 30 miles away from downtown Dallas, nothing to see here move on.


  136. - Old Lobster - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 4:19 pm:

    Frankly, they’ve been such a disappointment. After they won the Super Bowl in 1985, they were in a position to create a dynasty. The Cleveland game was embarrassing. Incompetent ownership has always been the Bears’ problem.


  137. - Truth Teller - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 4:36 pm:

    $80 million is nothing to an NFL team. But a losing team might want to spend that on some better players.


  138. - Six Degrees of Separation - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 5:22 pm:

    ===This Sun-Times story seems to sack the Arlington deal===

    It also assumes the same people running the team now are going to be the masterminds of a privately funded multi-billion $ development, while continuing to own and run the team. I’d put the odds on that at less than 1 in 10.


  139. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 5:53 pm:

    ==Dallas Cowboys play in Arlington 30 miles away from downtown Dallas, nothing to see here move on.==

    Heck, Southfork Ranch, the setting of the “Dallas” TV series, is actually about 30 miles north of downtown Dallas. Near Parker, TX. Almost along the lines of if there was a show called “Springfield” that actually took place in Lincoln or Petersburg.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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