Chicago mayor offers to put a dome on Soldier Field to keep Bears from leaving

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The Bears appear headed to the suburbs, having signed a purchase agreement for Arlington International Racecourse. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot either is trying for a Hail Mary to keep the Bears in the city or attempting to avoid blame if/when they leave.

On Monday, she offered to put a dome over Soldier Field, at a potential cost of $2.2 billion. A naming rights deal would pay part of the cost, with “many other potential ancillary naming opportunities” possible, but financing details were lacking.

The stadium was remodeled in 2001 at a cost of $660 million, and that project won’t be fully paid off until 2032.

Other options Lightfoot presented were to rebuild Soldier Field to make it “dome ready” with columns on both end zones or to modify the venue as a multipurpose facility that could host soccer and other events.

“We need to invest in Soldier Field. Soldier Field must be a year-round destination,” Lightfoot said at a news conference at the stadium, via Fox 32. “We must enhance the fan experience, and that’s precisely what we aim to do.

“We are making a compelling case for the Bears to stay in Chicago. They want a Tier One stadium to maximize revenues, and we agree.”

The Bears, though, appear to have one foot out the door. They signed an agreement to purchase the 326-acre site in Arlington Heights for $197.2 million, a deal that won’t close until at least late this year.

The team reiterated Monday what it said July 7: “The only potential project the Chicago Bears are exploring for a new stadium development is Arlington Park. As part of our mutual agreement with the seller of the property, we are not pursuing alternative stadium deals or sites, including renovations to Soldier Field, while under contract. We have informed the City of Chicago that we intend to honor our contractual commitments as we continue our due diligence and predevelopment activities on the Arlington Heights property. In the meantime, we remain committed to fulfilling our permit operating agreement at Soldier Field.”

15 responses to “Chicago mayor offers to put a dome on Soldier Field to keep Bears from leaving

  1. A dome isn’t going to solve the traffic issues coming in from I-94 and lack of space for tailgates

  2. Soldier Field is no longer a national landmark. No reason not to demolish it and build another one.
    Even Yankee Stadium got torn down. They can still call the new one Soldier Field. $2 billion just for a roof is ridiculous.

  3. A dome in Chicago is embarrassing. Congrats, you’ll host one Super Bowl and then be forgotten about like Indianapolis and Minnesota.

  4. football in the snow and cold is my favorite football, too sad it seems like it will be a thing of the past.

  5. I live in NYC, going to New Jersey to watch football games is terrible with or without driving. Chicago, you will be making a huge mistake. Have been to Fedex field, as well, 2 hr back up on the interstate to get back to either DC or Baltimore.

  6. They’ve got a lot bigger things to worry about in Chicago then whether the Bears stay at Soldier Field. And I say that as a Bears fan.

  7. Aaron Rodgers says he owns the Bears, so let Aaron decide where they should play.

  8. crayoninbrain says:
    July 25, 2022 at 5:11 pm
    I live in NYC, going to New Jersey to watch football games is terrible with or without driving. Chicago, you will be making a huge mistake. Have been to Fedex field, as well, 2 hr back up on the interstate to get back to either DC or Baltimore.
    ———————————-

    This is what currently happens to get TO Bears games. 2 hour backups and most fans coming from the burbs to watch having to drive through the City and park a mile away and walk to the stadium.

  9. i WISH THE MAYOR COULD PUT A DESCENT OL and WR’s on the field to help Fields who as a Packers / Ohio st fan i feel sorry for i only hope in 4 years he can escape this expansion talent team intact.

  10. To be fair I gave the mayors plans a look and i was very impressed wow this needs to be given serious consideration . .

  11. Too little, too late. The time to do that was on the previous remodel. Time to move on.

  12. How about investing in the police so people will actually go into the city again. Until then, the Bears are making a smart move to get out of downtown.

  13. To: GiveEachOther20Dollars says:
    July 25, 2022 at 5:16 pm
    Stop giving Billionaires tax payer $$$

    So how does the sound of the St. Louis Bears sound to you Give each other $20?

  14. Going to New Jersey for Giants or Jets fans to watch football games is terrible with or without driving….
    Have been to Fedex field, as well, 2 hr back up on the interstate to get back to either DC or Baltimore…
    To Bears games. 2 hour backups, no place to tailgate and park a mile away…
    ——————————————————
    Damn, Eagles fans may have booed Santa (more than a half a century ago) but getting to the game, parking, going into a modern stadium, and leaving the game are all a breeze compared to these nightmare stories.

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