Roger Goodell: Bears looking to the long term with Soldier Field alternative

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The prospect of the Bears leaving Soldier Field has become a topic of conversation over the last couple of weeks.

The team has made a bid to purchase a racetrack property in suburban Arlington Heights and local officials have approved the use of the Arlington Park site for a football stadium. The team has also struck a sponsorship deal with the current owners of the track as part of maneuvering that Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has shrugged off as negotiating ploys concerning their future at Soldier Field.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell weighed in on the possibility of a Bears move during an appearance on 670 The Score on Wednesday. Goodell noted the Bears’ current lease at Soldier Field, which runs through 2033, as a sign that this is a case of the team looking at long-term possibilities rather than anything to worry about in the immediate future.

“I don’t know the answer to that question other than to know this is a really early stage to develop potentially an alternative,” Goodell said. “But I think a lot has to be done here. I know their commitment to the Chicago area is 110 percent, and that’s the most important thing to me. We have a long lease at Soldier Field. It’s a great place. But we’re all looking to the long term and trying to look at alternatives, and that’s what the Bears are doing. But I think for fans right now, I wouldn’t be focused on that. There’s a lot that has to go into this. Right now, let’s enjoy the ’21 season. A lot of excitement for the Bears.”

If the bid to purchase the track is accepted and the deal goes through, focus on a move is going to increase regardless of how long the lease at their current home runs.

12 responses to “Roger Goodell: Bears looking to the long term with Soldier Field alternative

  1. They can move to Arlington and will still call themseves the Chicago Bears said my sorce at the Santa Clara 49ers.

  2. What is wrong with Soldier Field? Does the team want taxpayers to pay for a new stadium?

  3. There are more urgnet issues facing america than publicly funded stadiums.

    If there were an economic benefit to private stadium ownership, the team owners would have embraced it long ago.

  4. claudesq says:
    June 24, 2021 at 8:17 am
    What is wrong with Soldier Field? Does the team want taxpayers to pay for a new stadium?
    Not only to pay for a new stadium but to finance the profits, too. The Bears lease use of Soldier Field from the city, so they don’t own it; the Arlington Heights site offers the chance to own and develop the land, presumably as a complex like the Patriots, 49ers, Rams, have. It’s a real estate investment more than a stadium.

  5. The commissioner just gave his blessing to the relocation. That game-day train ride to Arlington Park is going to be a wild party train!

  6. FYI: Recent news about the “deal” – involves billionaire casino magnate Neil Bluhm who is a minority owner in the Bulls and Sox. He made a push years ago to outright purchase the Bears. With the blessing of Goodell, what this means is twofold. 1> Bluhm will be a Bears minority ownership partner that also sets the stage for life after Virginia and 2> The Bears and Bluhm (+consortium) can finance/build their own stadium without taxpayer money. Homeboy Chicago grown Bluhm has the finances to make all of this happen – for real. The obvious intersection with gambling likely indicates that the new Bears stadium, if this deal comes to fruition, will have a built in casino and probably gambling interfaces right at the stadium seats, as in the way you can order food already at several venues. All in all this is a good thing, Soldier field is the smallest stadium in the NFL, which generates the least patronage revenue. The field is a regular culprit for injuries, especially after a concert. The Bears will still be the Chicago Bears and Lori can take a hike for always erring on the side of the park district when it came to Bears negotiations.

  7. Please continue to survey people. I’m a Raider fan in Chicago however would buy season tickets to Bears (if possible) if they went to Arlington Heights. The Bears stadium is only iconic because of the TV shot of downtown every SNF or MNF game. Otherwise, there is a paltry amount of parking that can be considered for tailgating and the location is a nightmare to get in and out. Build a new stadium with miles of parking in Arlington Heights and most fans will rejoice namely because I bet less than 10% actually reside anywhere near the stadium as it is.

  8. I didn’t realize Soldier field had such a small capacity. The City could make a boatload of dough redeveloping that site if the Bears left.

  9. I used to go to a lot of Bears games at Soldier Field when I was younger. The flat, laid-back grandstands meant that you could see the field, the columns, the skyline, and the lake all at once.
    I went to a preseason game a couple years ago. I can see the field just fine, if I look down. The problem is, if I look down, there’s a good chance I’m going to throw up all over the fans in the seats in front of me, or, should I say, below me.
    And that’s the crux of the issue. Old Soldier Field was a horizontal place, with broad vistas of everything around it. New Soldier Field is a very vertical place, and not in a good way.

  10. What is the big deal? If they can get a new stadium in the suburbs of Chicago, I say do it. They would still be the Chicago Bears. Several other teams play their home games outside of the city in which they are named. The bottom line is they need a new stadium. Give San Antonio an expansion team.

  11. This is a Golden opportunity for the Bears and , believe me they know it. 326 acres. Are you kidding me. With the right investors and strategic planing, the place would be a “Gold Mine”. Casino, Hotel, Shoping and Football. Gold Mine. 326 acres vs 7 that Soldier sits on. No brainer. The city could do a lot of big things with those 7 acres after the Bears are gone.

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