Chicago mayor acknowledges Bears have concerns about Soldier Field, says they won’t move

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The mayor of a Chicago suburb that will soon have a stadium-sized piece of property available says the Bears are considering leaving Soldier Field, while the mayor of Chicago says the team isn’t going anywhere.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot says the Bears approached her about making changes to Soldier Field, which has a seating capacity of just 61,500, making it the NFL’s smallest stadium.

“It’s a great, iconic site,” Lightfoot said, via FOX 32 in Chicago. “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.”

Lightfoot added, however, that the Bears’ lease with the city to play at Soldier Field runs through 2033 and that she’s confident the Bears won’t move, and that the NFL wouldn’t let them if they tried.

Tom Hayes, the mayor of Arlington Heights, Illinois, however, has a different idea: Hayes says his city’s Arlington Park race track, located about 30 miles from Soldier Field, would be the perfect spot for the next home field of the Bears. The Arlington Park site is for sale and is expected to be demolished and redeveloped by its next owner.

“Certainly, the Arlington Park site is available and we would consider the Chicago Bears a great fit for that particular site,” Hayes said. “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.”

The Bears have played at Soldier Field since 1971, with the exception of 2002, when they played at the University of Illinois for the season because Soldier Field was undergoing extensive renovations. Given the shelf life on stadium renovations, it’s unsurprising that two decades later, there’s now talk that Soldier Field is no longer up to snuff.

21 responses to “Chicago mayor acknowledges Bears have concerns about Soldier Field, says they won’t move

  1. Soldier Field is one of the best stadiums in the NFL for having the seats close to the field. I can’t imagine the Bears not playing downtown right on the lake and don’t want to. If they need to add some seats that’s fine, but the Bears should keep playing at Soldier Field, not way out in the suburbs like the 49ers do.

  2. I dunno, just wouldn’t really feel like the Bears without Soldier Field.

  3. Great! Rip down another amazing, classic venue built for football that was obviously designed with the fans in mind, to build another monolithic amusement park and shopping mall where football just happens to be played.
    What’s next, are you going to put a soulless roof on top of it too, so it can be more akin to Arena Ball?
    Name it after a bank when you’re done with it?

  4. Bostonian living in Chicago where my wife is from. Although my wife’s a Cubs fan, I believe Arlington Heights was almost the destination for the white six before they moved. In fact, even after the sox stayed, their potential stadium would’ve been called Armour Field.

    As far as the bears are concerned, I doubt the park district would let them out due to the money they make from the lots to tailgate. Light foot also has season tickets to the bears, so she obviously doesn’t want them moving. Let alone the other PSL owners who pay for that racket.

    My patriots are rebuilding snd the bears are the bears…I’ll watch them at home, I’m not paying these ridiculous prices..

  5. “Great! Rip down another amazing, classic venue built for football that was obviously designed with the fans in mind…”

    Have you actually been inside Soldier Field? It is anything but amazing and classic. The lack of amenities and general run down condition makes one question exactly how it was designed and has been maintained with the fan experience in mind.

    Soldier Field looks iconic from the outside and it is in a great location. Inside is a totally different matter.

  6. It’s time. Get the Bears out of downtown and someplace that’s you safe and you can actually get to without spending half a day in traffic. A better playing surface would be nice too.

  7. I’ve only been to two games in my life at soldier field. Once before and once after renovations. While it’s true that there isn’t a bad view in the house, that stadium just feels as bare bones as possible. I live in Wisconsin, and have been to quite a few Bears/Packers games at Lambeau. The experience just can’t be compared. Lambeau is surrounded by the Tundra Town experience and parking for miles. Soldier Field is smack dab in the heart of a massive city, which makes traffic and parking either a nightmare, expensive, or both.

    I would love to see the Bears get more property where they can expand the fan experience to more than just hectic parking and a walk to and from the car.

  8. not way out in the suburbs like the 49ers do.

    Santa Clara is a city just like Arlington Texas is a city. And the Dallas Cowboys actually play closer to Fort Worth then they do Dallas.

  9. Soldiers Field is a nightmare traffic wise. Lack of parking. The view of the lake is nice. But it’s time to build an retractable roof stadium that will bring In Super Biwls, Final Fours, and year round venues. Got to keep up with the times.

    One of my favorite stadiums is Miller Park. It’s a really nice stadium.

  10. If you like long lines for parking and bathrooms, Soldier Field is your place.

    Like everything else Bears, regardless of what product you put out there, the fans will come and spend their $$$.

  11. I live 5 minutes from Arlington Park – space aside there is no way Arlington Heights has the infrastructure to support 35,000 fans let along vendors in surrounding areas. They can’t even figure out how to get cars in/out on the 4th of July! With that said, there’s a ton of land hardly occupied in Arlington Heights right alongside where they would build. Commercial buildings begging to be demolished if something nice were to come after Arlington Park closes.

  12. The NFL will let the Bears leave Soldier Field. The Bears should build a new stadium which they would own in Arlington heights. Just like AT&T, So-Fi and the Raiders new Home.

  13. There would be nothing wrong with the Bears moving to the suburbs. They would still be the Chicago Bears. They should go where they can get a new stadium. Soldier Field is too small and old. Look at the mega palaces the Rams, chargers, and Raiders are playing in. PLEASE expand to San Antonio. they are long overdue for an NFL team.

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