Report: Bears sign purchase agreement for potential Arlington Heights stadium location

NFL: AUG 14 Preseason - Dolphins at Bears
Getty Images

The Bears are moving closer toward moving out of Soldier Field.

According to TheAthletic.com, the Bears have signed a purchase agreement for property in Arlington Heights that could serve as the location for a new stadium. Per the report, the team is expected to announce the acquisition on Wednesday.

“We are not surprised by this move,” a spokesperson for the mayor of Chicago said in a statement to TheAthletic.com. “We remain committed to continuing the work to keep the team in Chicago and have advised the Bears that we remain open to discussions. However, just as the Bears view this as a business decision so does the City. This season, Soldier Field signed a major contract with the Chicago Fire and just last weekend Soldier Field hosted the Shamrock Series — both of which are lucrative for the Chicago Park District and local economy.

“These examples and others demonstrate that Soldier Field remains a very sought-after venue, and, as the Mayor has said many times, overall, the City and Park District must explore all options to both enhance the visitor and fan experience at Soldier Field year-round and maximize revenues. Therefore, we must do what’s in the best economic interests of our taxpayers and maximize the financial benefits at the important asset that is Soldier Field. As for the Bears, the Mayor has said numerous times, our door in City Hall remains open to engage the Bears.”

The Bears have a lease at Soldier Field that runs through 2033; however, they reportedly could buy their way out of it in 2026 with a payment of $84 million.

A new stadium would have, ostensibly, the infrastructure needed to maximize the game-day experience, including but not limited to robust and efficient in-game betting. Also, a new stadium in Arlington Heights would likely be larger and better suited to big-ticket items like suites and luxury seating.

Let’s also keep an eye on the possibility that Chicago could become a two-team market. When it comes to hosting events other than the 10 home games per season played by an NFL team, staging another 10 home games by another team becomes an attractive option. Chicago already has two MLB teams; the economics of having two teams play at a new NFL stadium make it a much better private investment.

Then comes the question of whether Chicago would try to lure a team from another city, or whether Chicago would become the potential location of an expansion team. As the NFL commences a 17-game regular season with an 18-game slate seemingly inevitable, the next frontier when it comes to increasing inventory comes from increasing the number of teams. Chicago would make plenty of sense for a 33rd or 34th (or 35th or 36th) franchise.

Put simply, NFL teams need to go where the money and people are. Whether it’s a team that can’t resolve a current local stadium situation (like, possibly, the Panthers) or a team that encounters a stadium issue in the not-too-distant future or a team that starts from scratch, it makes plenty of sense to consider putting a second team in The Second City.

34 responses to “Report: Bears sign purchase agreement for potential Arlington Heights stadium location

  1. I wonder if Chicago’s mayor still thinks the Bears’ threat to move is just a negotiation tactic?

  2. Can’t point to long standing franchises like the Cubs and White Sox and say why not have two football teams. I don’t think you can tap into a city with an established franchise like the Bears. Sure there are lots of football fans but you aren’t going to break their loyalty there. Same reason Milwaukee would never get a franchise.

  3. Regarding adding a second team to Chicago, I just don’t see it happening. It had been a long time that a major sports franchise located to a market that already had a team before the Chargers move to LA. How has that worked out? And the Rams had only been back for a year. All of Chicago are Bears fans in a way that has never been the case in LA.

    It would take at least a generation before a second team could possibly hope to have local support equal to the Bears. No owner would want to take that on.

  4. This stadium was completely renovated in 2003 to the toon of $700 million. Owners see these billion dollar stadiums being erected and think I need one of these and the tax payers should buy it for me. Lambeau, Arrowhead and the old Ralph Wilson stadium will be next. Then in the next decade they will start with the two in Florida, NO Superdome and FedEx, by then they will cost 3-5 billion a piece. All coming from the tax payers while kids go to schools in dumps.

  5. The Bears need to make the move. A bigger stadium is needed to broaden it’s fan base (tickets are too expensive). They should have more than 60k seats. It should be 75k minimum. Chicago has become a more dangerous city over the past decade. Nostalgia is gone, practicality is what is important. Closeness to O’Hare makes it even more attractive. Money talks and bs walks.

  6. Hard to blame them. as completely out of control as Chicago has gotten the fans should be wearing full body armor to safely get from parking to the stadium.

  7. Careful, if Arlington Heights gets a professional football team, Chicago is going to be jealous!

  8. Yeah sorry, I don’t see the two team thing ever happening. A new franchise would go to an underserved market or a new location like Toronto or London or a place the NFL left like St. Louis.

  9. The Chicago Panthers sounds like crap.

    These new age billionaire owners who are buying their way into the league should be required to stay in their current markets. If the local municipalities won’t give a hand out to them or if the new owner can’t afford to build their own stadium .. then they don’t belong in the league of 32.

    Jeff Bezos can afford 5 teams… condition of purchase of the Broncos.. build your own stadium when the need arrives.. or they don’t belong in the league of 32

  10. We are watching “the average fan” get priced right out of watching NFL games live. That “enhanced fan experiance” will be happening only once or twice a year because that will be all they can afford.

  11. Fixing the team and especially the offense should be the one and only priority for the McCaskeys right now. The Bears are a mess and will be lucky to win 3 more games this season from what I’ve seen so far. Focus on keeping fans coming to Soldier Field before setting sights elsewhere.

  12. First of all, Chicago is a Bear town, and will never support another team. Never!
    Soldier Field is an embarrassment. The field is crud! Too many times the Bears would have to play a Sunday game on a field that was trashed because they played 10 high school games on it within the last 10 days, usually in poor weather, making the sod a sloppy mess.
    Go to Arlington Heights where they can build for the future,, have 85,000 seats, which they will sell out for every game. And the biggest factor, leave a dangerous city.

  13. Are you kidding? Wow, Are the Bears ready for this. This can be a major step in moving into the 21st century. Now, all they need is a new coach and GM.

  14. Not sure you can include the Panthers here. They have spent a ton on a off-site practice facility, bought land for the future stadium, and now have an MLS team tied in. Think Tepper has them firmly entrenched in Charlotte.

  15. I have been to Soldier field, that is one of the worst locations to get to an NFL game in the NFL. Moving to the suburbs would be great for the Chicago area fan base.

  16. Take the Jets please! They compliment the Bears nicely and we don’t want them in NY/NJ anymore.

  17. Man. One by one the cool, old, stadiums and their names are going away. To be honest, I way prefer stadium names like Orchard Park, Soldier Field, The Vet, etc.

    Now we get Burger King Field, Mall of America Field, Pinto Ford Field, and Amazon Dot Com stadium. No class.

    I understand it’s about more revenue but I don’t have to like it.

  18. It would be a major win for Metra. There’s a line from downtown Chicago out to Arlington Heights Race Track (site being purchased). I could drive 15 minutes to the Crystal Lake Metra station and get off right next to the new stadium.

    That’s a slightly better commute then the disaster trying to get to Soldier Field.

  19. We’ll look at the bright side of things Bears fans…by the time this stadium is built, you will have moved on from that bust Justin Fields!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.