Are the Bears Serious About a Move to Arlington Heights?
It’s the question that doesn’t seem to go away. Are the Bears serious about a move to Arlington Heights?
The Bears have called Soldier Field home since September 1971, and no doubt the stadium has seen some iconic moments, and is held dear in the hearts of many Bears fans.
Soldier Field however, has seen better days. With a capacity of 61,500, it is the smallest and the oldest stadium in the NFL. In 2024, the stadium will celebrate its 100th anniversary since its opening.
Amenities, a lack of car spaces and public transport, and getting to and from the stadium have long been a frustration for Bears fans.
Constraints with the building would likely prevent any major seating upgrades and at this point in time, Soldier Field has almost zero chance of ever hosting a Super Bowl.
The Bears current lease expires in 2033 and any such move to Arlington Park would likely be a drawn out and expensive one.
Speaking on FOX 32 in Chicago, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot claims that the Bears made an approach to her recently about making upgrades to Soldier Field.
“It’s a great, iconic site, but it’s a challenging site, and I think it’s incumbent on us as a city to step up and look at ways in which we can make sure that the Bears fans, but also the Bears as an organization, have the best opportunities to maximize the fan experience and, of course, maximize revenues.”
Also speaking on FOX 32 Chicago, Mayor of Arlington Heights Tom Hayes was more than enthusiastic about the idea.
“I think the Bears are seriously considering it because it’s such a unique piece of property, it has so much going for it in terms of its location in the northwest suburbs where a lot of their audience is.”
A new stadium for Chicago is an enticing prospect, with the 326 acre site presenting a range of development options. The potential for a new-age, indoor stadium with a higher capacity would allow for Chicago to strongly position itself to host Super Bowls, Draft Days and other major sporting events including the Big Four and UFC.
Any move it must be remembered, could be blocked by the current lease agreement that ties the Bears to Soldier Field until 2033.
So are the interest levels genuine at Halas Hall, or is this just an attempt to leverage a redevelopment discussion for Soldier Field with the City of Chicago?
Bears fans what do we think? Is their smoke here? And if there is, should we stay or should we go?
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