UA-59049186-1 Chicago Bears Agree to Purchase Arlington International - Good if it Goes

Chicago Bears Agree to Purchase Arlington International

Soldier Field on Twitter

The Bears to the ‘burbs idea took a major step Tuesday night when the team signed an agreement to purchase Arlington International Racecourse. Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office put out a statement:

The game plan for the Browns game was better thought out than that statement. The Shamrock Series was a one-off, so unless Lori thinks she can convince Notre Dame to move to Soldier Field permanently, I don’t know what the point of bringing that up was. As for the Chicago Fire, let’s see how that’s going. Sun-Times:

“When the Fire moved to Soldier Field after the 2019 season, owner Joe Mansueto set a target of 25,000 fans per game at the lakefront venue.

Since pandemic-related capacity restrictions were lifted in July, the Fire haven’t come close to reaching that mark.

Through seven home games without limits, the Fire’s best draw was 14,898 on July 3 against Atlanta. They’re averaging 10,966 and have welcomed three announced crowds of under 9,000 to home matches, and Mansueto wants to see faster progress on that front.”

Oof.

“These examples and others”, what other examples would those be, Lori? You can hold concerts there, but it’s too cold to do so for a third of the year. “Our door remains open.” Have you seriously not figured out that you have no leverage here, Lori? The Bears have the land to build what they want in Arlington Heights. You have a stadium that needs a team, you weren’t exactly beloved to begin with, and now you’re about to become the mayor that lost the Bears to the suburbs. Unless you think you can convince the Jags to come here and be the Clippers to the Bears’ Lakers*, the Bears hold all the cards here. You want to talk about economic opportunities? You know what would be great for the local economy? HOSTING THE FREAKING SUPER BOWL. AND THE FINAL FOUR. AND ALL THE OTHER STUFF THAT COULD BE HERE BUT INSTEAD IS CURRENTLY GOING TO INDIANAPOLIS. FIGURE IT OUT.

A MegaDome in the current location would be the ideal solution, but your author had very little faith in the city’s ability to get a deal done and that statement from the mayor’s office killed what little faith was there. The Bears are going to want to own the stadium, the remaining historic elements would have to go, and the city doesn’t have money to contribute to a new stadium. At this point, this space asserts that’s it’s no longer if the Bears move to Arlington Heights, but when.

*Not likely, but maybe not impossible – both Shad and Tony Khan went to college at U of I and Chicago would be a great home base for AEW. That said, the city of Jacksonville seems pretty content to let Shad Khan do whatever he wants in regards to development around the stadium to keep the team from moving.

Twitter: @KSchroeder_312

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