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Question of the day

Wednesday, Sep 29, 2021 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Greg Hinz

If Lightfoot has a plan for an affordable domed stadium that would be good for the team and the city, she needs to put it on the table. If she really does have plan to create a 24/7/365 entertainment district in or around Soldier Field, let’s see it.

* From “A Home for the NFL Chicago Bears: A Case Study in Political Economy and Power”

Finally, two local well-known philanthropists, John Bryan, former Chicago-based Sara Lee CEO and Cindy Pritzker, local culture maven and member of the Pritzker family that owns the Hyatt Hotel chain and sits on boards of many of the city’s leading cultural and educational institutions, approached the mayor directly in late 2001. Their proposal, developed by well-known Chicago architect Lawrence: For the same amount of money the city and Bears were spending, they could have a new 75,000-seat domed stadium to be located on parking lots near Soldier Field and McCormick Place, thus preserving Soldier Field for a large range of civic and community activities. This would also have reserved the valuable naming rights for the Bears, increase their net revenues from the 13,500 additional seats, and would not have interrupted play so the Bears would not have had to venture downstate to play during the construction phase of the project (the 2002 season).

The Tribune quickly jumped on this new bandwagon:

    “Bryan and Pritzker aren’t the typical meddling types Daley swats aside. More than anyone, they are responsible for getting Millennium Park built. They have dug deep and forced their peers to pay up to get Millennium started and bail out the city on cost overruns and mismanagement.

    They are also symbols.

    Though retired now, Bryan still represents the will of the city’s business elite. And Pritzker, thanks to her name and personal commitment to culture, represents the best of Chicago society.

    They bravely speak while their more timid peers would allow Daley’s planned pillaging of Soldier Field to cheapen the city, its reputation for great architecture and its quality of life.”

The Bears and mayor quickly rejected the Bryan-Pritzker plan.

That’s Gov. Pritzker’s aunt, by the way.

* Another idea…

* Sen. Peters said the proposal is based on Ohio’s Art Modell Law, which worked a few years ago

After Modell sparked outrage in 1995 with his move of the Browns, state legislators passed a law trying to protect against the hijacking of sports teams. The law, Section 9.67 of the Ohio Revised Code, calls for sports team owners who use a tax-supported facility and receive financial assistance from the state or locality to either get agreement from their home town to play most home games elsewhere, or give six months’ notice of their intention to move and allow locals a chance to buy the team.

After the operator of the Columbus Crew [soccer team] indicated in 2017 that the team might move to Texas, then Attorney General Mike DeWine sent him a letter invoking the law and later joined the City of Columbus in filing a suit based on it. They outlined how the owners had received a variety of state and local financial support, ranging from $5 million for parking improvements and a property tax exemption to extending a road as well as moving water and sewer lines for Mapfre Stadium, where the Crew plays. The Art Modell Law, they said, should be enforced.

Last May, the judge in the case ordered a 90-day pause on the proceedings and set up a process to facilitate negotiations to explore a settlement. In December, he refused to dismiss the suit.

Observers credit the lawsuit for slowing down the move. Ultimately, current Browns owner Jimmy Haslam joined with the Edwards family in Columbus and arranged to buy the team, The suit was dismissed when the sale was imminent, but even while it was pending and the Crew’s location remained uncertain, Major League Soccer awarded a new expansion team in Cincinnati. The existence of the Art Modell Law did not scare off the league – illustrating that providing worker and community protections is not necessarily the obstacle to business investment that is sometimes claimed.

* The Question: What should happen now?


  1. - MisterJayEm - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 2:33 pm:

    “What should happen now?”


    – MrJM

  2. - filmmaker prof - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 2:34 pm:

    The Bears look the same to me on TV regardless of where they play.

  3. - OneMan - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 2:35 pm:

    Nothing is what should happen now, if they want to go to Arlington Heights and not use my tax dollars for it, they should go ahead and do so.

  4. - Independent - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 2:36 pm:

    The domed stadium was a good idea in ‘01. But Daley and the Bears were set in stone. Times are different. I’m not sure Chicagoans or Illinoisans today would approve of using public money to prop up the McCaskeys. Maybe the best thing is to let them go to Arlington Heights and build their stadium with no public money.

  5. - Mockery - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 2:38 pm:

    Peters proposal would have zero impact on the current situation. Less pandering, more problem solving

  6. - Nagidam - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 2:48 pm:

    ===What should happen now?===

    Nothing. They are a private business. If they break the lease then they have to pay. Not having seen the contract I would assume the City planned for a penalty should the Bears break the lease so there really isn’t anything left to negotiate. If they want to spend a couple billion of their own money to build a stadium and entertainment complex…I wish them well. The mayor should spend more time finding uses for Soldier Field to make money on the asset.

  7. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 2:55 pm:

    What should happen now?

    It’d be nice if the Bears beat the Lions. But given that Nagy forces his star QB to drop back behind a broken line (which GM Pace restocked with an injured draft pick and a 39 year old has been), I may take the Lions. Parlay that with the under on Nagy/Pace surviving the season as employees of the McCaskeys.

    Like with most things, winning solves many problems. Sadly, this team doesn’t look like a winner at all, from the boardroom on down to the locker room.

    Good riddance.

  8. - Sox Fan - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 2:56 pm:

    Let them go. Replace 10 bears games with 5 concerts and some college football and international soccer matches and come out ahead

  9. - Ducky LaMoore - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 2:58 pm:

    I really don’t think there is much Lightfoot can do at this point regarding where the Bears play. She needs to focus on alternative plans for Soldier Field. Or she could try to find a couple hundred million dollars to give away to the McCaskey’s…. But I don’t think anyone has the stomach for that.

  10. - ;) - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 3:04 pm:

    Eye roll at Sen Peters.

  11. - DuPage - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 3:07 pm:

    In late 2001? That was 20 years ago. A lot of things in Chicago have changed for the worse since then.
    Best thing for the Bears in a few years, (radio ad), “Come down this weekend see the Chicago Bears play Green Bay at the New Soldier Field in Arlington Heights. Plenty of secure parking, hotels, and restaurants in the complex. Package tickets available online or at the gate. See you there.”

  12. - AD - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 3:13 pm:

    Not what Peters legislation says. Contracts are in place and if the city didn’t want any chance of the Bears leaving, they should’ve negotiated a better contract that would prevent it.

  13. - Benjamin - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 3:16 pm:

    Eh. I’ve heard that 80% of the Bears’ revenue comes from their TV rights, and so they could play pretty much anywhere and turn a decent profit. (Hey, why not return to Deactur? Gotta be cheap to build a stadium down there.)

    Meanwhile, the economic impact of an NFL team in a city is about the same as a supermarket. How is that possible? Well, the supermarket generates econimic activity 365 days a year, whereas the NFL team plays perhaps 10 days a year. So, maybe we need to look at this as “Chicago losing a grocery store to Arligton Heights.”

  14. - Bruce( no not him) - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 3:19 pm:

    Spending all the money on the facility instead of the team works well. See the current Cubs

  15. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 3:19 pm:

    ==Meanwhile, the economic impact of an NFL team in a city is about the same as a supermarket. ==

    Although it’s a different situation, don’t tell that to the people of Jerome. One of the donut hole communities of Springfield. The Shop and Save grocery store in Jerome closed in November 2018 and the town’s coffers have suffered since. Even before COVID.

  16. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 3:21 pm:

    ==Come down this weekend see the Chicago Bears play Green Bay==

    If things don’t change it will be more like “Come down this weekend see the Chicago Bears lose to the Packers for the 30th time in a row and counting.”

  17. - SuburbanR - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 3:22 pm:

    Soldier Field should have been demolished and replaced by a stadium like Lucas Oil in Indy. Final 4s, Super Bowls and much more could have taken place there. The Star Wars museum would have been a draw too (I wouldn’t have gone - I don’t care) but it was shot down. Let them go to Arlington Heights. It’ll bring more events and revenue to Illinois.

  18. - Nagidam - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 3:22 pm:

    ===“Chicago losing a grocery store to Arlington Heights.”===

    The issue is not losing a football team but losing the possibility of a domed stadium. A domed stadium that could get a super bowl, NCAA Championship, Concerts, and you name it generates enough revenue to the community to practically pay for itself well inside a decade.

  19. - Amalia - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 3:25 pm:

    well, if you want it there, you have to face the wrath of the folks who pushed away the Star Wars museum. why wasn’t the stadium put on the Michael Reese land? it’s always some group….park nuts, those purporting to represent the Black community…that keeps these things there from reality. it’s not just about a plan for a domed stadium next to Soldier Field, it’s about all those screamers and how to handle them.

  20. - Well Hello - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 3:26 pm:

    To quote Curly Bill Brocius in “Tombstone”:


  21. - BigLou - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 3:27 pm:

    Peter’s constituents should be asking themselves what is this claptrap.

  22. - BigLou - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 3:30 pm:

    YES, I got to use claptrap today of all days (see my post in open thread at 8:36AM today)

  23. - lake county democrat - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 3:33 pm:

    The NFL prohibits government ownership (in response to what happened with Green Bay, who were grandfathered) - not sure how that might affect the proposed bill.

    The Bears are all but screaming they’ve moved on. Let them. See if you can work out something with a team like Jacksonville. Do the best you can with college games, MLS and other soccer exhibition games, concerts, etc. Put an outdoor skating rink/amusement park there for the winter.

  24. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 3:33 pm:

    Complete nonsense by Peters. Lease contract governs, and this is ex post facto. Good luck getting anyone to locate/stay in Chicago in the future under those terms.

  25. - Pundent - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 3:33 pm:

    In listening to some of Mayor Lightfoot’s comments this morning on the radio, it seems that she’s resigned to losing the Bears. She’s saying things like, “if they want to leave they’re going to have to pay us consistent with the contract.” I think that’s a foregone conclusion and should hardly be the obstacle standing in the way of a move.

    Nobody was duped into entering the Soldier Field arrangement. The Bears have an out and they’re taking advantage of it.

  26. - Henry Francis - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 3:34 pm:

    The Bears sure have changed the conversation since Sunday’s debacle.

    I think it’s all a ruse. Just like the Charlestown Chiefs moving to Florida. “Dickie Dunn wrote this, it must be true.”

  27. - Cannon649 - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 3:35 pm:

    Lightfoot needs to put up quickly - if she has anything - I doubt it.

    I look for the BEARS to be sold and this is the second step. My guess is a hotel gaming project coupled the a state of the art dome will make the Bears more valuable.

  28. - DaBlues - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 3:40 pm:

    Wait a minute, wasn’t there a guy who built stadiums proposing to build an entertainment district a few years ago? Didn’t Lightfoot balk at that idea?

  29. - sladay - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 3:43 pm:

    The Bears will move to Arlington is my guess. I also heard that the Bears want a sportsbook at or near the stadium but the Mayors office is concerned about cannibalizing the future Chicago Casino profits.

  30. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 3:46 pm:

    I must insist that they are then called the Arlington Heights Bears.

  31. - sladay - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 3:50 pm:

    ==I must insist that they are then called the Arlington Heights Bears.==

    8 other NFL teams are not in the city that they are named after.

  32. - JoanP - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 3:52 pm:

    The Bears shouldn’t let the door hit them on their way out.

  33. - Groucho - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 3:55 pm:

    Go Packers

  34. - NorthsideNoMore - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 3:56 pm:

    Put a domed stadium in Arlington far better location than the mess on LSD, traffic is brutal. It’s time to move on and dump the nostalgia of Soldier Field. The City wrecked that when they dropped that hot mess into original structure. Arlington Heights is centrally located with easy access. Build a modern day stadium with all the expected amenities. Bonus: it will be out of Chitowns control and probably not run by a McCaskey

  35. - JDuc - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 3:56 pm:

    Best thing that could happen is that they leave Chicago and Soldier Field.

  36. - Tominchicago - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 4:05 pm:

    I don’t see how Peters’ bill doesn’t violate the federal contracts clause and due process laws as well as Art. 1, section 16 of the Illinois constitution, which bars laws that impair contracts and ex post facto laws. Under the original lease, there is only a penalty payment in the event of early termination of the lease.

  37. - Joe Bidenopolous - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 4:14 pm:

    Peters’ bill is dumb.

    What’s the big deal really? Surely the city can replace the direct revenue by scheduling more concerts and big ticket items there, which would be possible with the Bears out. A lot of the indirect will still flow to the city because a lot of folks who come in for games are still gonna stay downtown. I mean, is this about ego? They’re still gonna be the Chicago Bears, they’ll just be like that annoying kid at U of I who’s really from Naperville.

    So, as a Chicagoan and a Bears fan, I don’t care. Personally, I think it will be better for the city if they’re in the burbs. I just don’t want a single public dollar spent on them wherever they are.

  38. - Wensicia - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 4:14 pm:

    The city should collect the cash for the Bears breaking the lease and move on, as the team moves out. Not another taxpayer dime should be spent on housing the ex-Chicago Bears.

  39. - Nieva - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 4:16 pm:

    St.Louis Bears has a nice ring to it.

  40. - Abood - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 4:17 pm:

    Progressive legislators should be wary of passing laws that try to change existing contracts—that gives popular cover for a free chance to establish a precedent that can later weaken other important contracts, such as pensions.

  41. - Boone's is Back - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 4:18 pm:

    In addition to what Tominchicago said, Peters’ proposal would also likely violate the equal protection clause. It doesn’t help that he’s naming the bill after the Bears…

    Also, what kind of a message does it send that you have to pass state laws to keep a business, organization, or person from voluntarily leaving the City of Chicago. Lightfoot, Peters, and the progressives better get their act together or the exodus will continue.

  42. - Bothanspied - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 4:24 pm:

    Rich, the link to the Soldier Field parking lot idea is broken.

  43. - Chicago 20 - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 4:29 pm:

    Soldier Field will make a great home for the Chicago Cardinals.

  44. - Manchester - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 4:33 pm:

    Let them go to Arlington - providing they are not being offered tax breaks and other incentives to move. If they want to move then they should do it with their own money and not taxpayer money. If they want to stay in Chicago with a new stadium, then they should fund it. I’m totally against taxpayer money being used to enrich the already wealthy.

  45. - Citizen Kane - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 4:34 pm:

    Well we should stop using tax dollars for professional sports institutions regardless of where they are.

  46. - City Zen - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 5:05 pm:

    Peters undoubtedly influenced by Mayor Quimby’s Leaving Town Tax.

  47. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 5:20 pm:

    “the mess on LSD, traffic is brutal.”

    Northwest Highway can’t be widened due to the UP tracks and I think Wilke may be tricky too. Euclid could be widened on the south side. That leaves Rt. 53. It currently has 6 lanes vs. LSD w/ 8. This will be harder than one may think. But, if the McCaskey’s want to pay for it, great. However, this is counter to their reputation as spendthrifts, so look forward to a TIF or other mechanism to be suggested.

  48. - TJ - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 5:32 pm:

    That sounds like it’d be the definition of an ex post facto law if applied to the Bears.

  49. - TJ - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 5:34 pm:

    And they’ll be the Chicago Bears even if they played in Michigan City, Indiana. It’s just wasted pixels to type about how they shouldn’t keep the Chicago in their name.

  50. - Six Degrees of Separation - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 5:34 pm:

    What should happen? If there were 300 acres of spare land available on the Chicago lakefront for $200 million, it would be an easy decision to stay in Chicago. That not being the case, I don’t know what else the city could, or would want, to throw the Bears’ way to entice them to stay.

    ===Soldier Field will make a great home for the Chicago Cardinals.===
    They’d leave this for the smallest spaceship in the NFL?

  51. - lake county democrat - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 5:49 pm:

    Six Degrees - I suggested Jacksonville as the team to move here - they seem to want to move (possibly to London). As for the name “Cardinals” - heck, the CFL once had two teams with the same name (the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Ottawa Rough Riders). Or think of the fun renaming them! I thought the XFL team should have been “The Chicago Clout” with a dollar sign on the helmet…

  52. - Proud Papa Bear - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 5:56 pm:

    Watching football in a domed stadium is like watching kids run amok in a Lowe’s.

  53. - Inverted Pyramid - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 6:01 pm:

    Senator Peters: protecting your district, I get it. But moving to a community that is still within the County of Cook is not moving your team from Cleveland to Baltimore. Give me a (lease) break.

    Also, maybe you should ask your college Senator Landek about the Chicago (formerly Bridgeview) Fire breaking their lease at his stadium to move into your district?

    Bear Down, Arlington Heights.

  54. - thechampaignlife - Wednesday, Sep 29, 21 @ 7:23 pm:

    Given the mayor’s lackluster effort to keep them, is Soldier Field the new home of the city’s casino?

  55. - Six Degrees of Separation - Thursday, Sep 30, 21 @ 8:31 am:

    LCD- also remember that if the Bears build their own stadium, they would have a state of the art facility that could also host a second team such as is the case in NJ and LA. The city would definitely have some competition on this one, even as far-fetched as “2 teams in Chicago” is.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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