Bears focus on “100-year opportunity” at Arlington Park

Chicago Bears Hold Community Meeting Regarding Arlington Heights Development
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The Bears have been around for more than 100 years. They currently envision eventually spending 100 years at a new stadium in Arlington Park.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that the team’s flirtation with exiting its longtime downtown home isn’t just a ploy. It’s a plan. A plan that keeps moving toward full-blown implementation.

A day after the team held an informational meeting regarding the Arlington Park project, team chairman George McCaskey provided his most concrete vision yet of a steel-and-cement alternative to Soldier Field in comments to Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times.

“In each of those situations, the building had been designed and built primarily for other events or another team,” McCaskey said regarding the team’s current and past home fields. “This is our 100-year opportunity to design it for us.”

Although the move to Soldier Field in 1971 was supposed to be temporary, the Bears have become the primary tenant of a building they don’t own.

“I would compare it to a homeowner that rents for year after year after year,” McCaskey told Finley. “I mean, there are advantages to that– but there are some significant disadvantages to that also.”

McCaskey’s comments come a day after a public town-hall meeting, during which the Bears created the sense that they fully intend to build their own ballpark.

“We don’t have a Plan B,” team president Ted Phillips said during the meeting, via Jason Lieser of the Sun-Times. “We will not be discussing any other alternative sites, including renovations of Soldier Field.”

The new stadium would have a fixed, non-retractable roof. And while that approach sacrifices a key part of the Windy City home-field advantage, it expands the various ways in which the building can be used — and the months of the year in which it can host events and make money.

The Bears’ lease runs through 2033. However, they can leave as soon as 2026, by paying $90 million. The price to cancel the lease prematurely drops with each passing year.

There’s still a chance it’s all a ruse, a negotiating tactic aimed at getting a better deal at Soldier Field. As such things usually go, the more convincing the alternative, the more effective it can be.

19 responses to “Bears focus on “100-year opportunity” at Arlington Park

  1. The Bears aren’t the only business leaving Chicago. An average of 3 people are shot in Chicago every day. The City isn’t doing anything to stop crime so people are voting with their feet. The Bears are voting with their paws.

  2. While I respect the current name of the stadium I also cringe when I see live shots of the field. I am sure it had it’s glory days but they are long gone and reflects poorly on the city.

  3. I have a hard time wrapping my head around the Bears not playing in Soldier Field. It’s like the Packers not playing in Lambeau or the Chiefs not playing in Arrowhead.

  4. I have no clue about weather or not business are leaving Chicago or not but 3 people are shot everyday in a lot cities with much smaller populations so moving a business for that reason really limits the cities in which they can move.

  5. As long as the Bears pay for it, more power to them.

    They come looking for handouts to build their “100 year opportunity”, then there is a problem.

    How much was spent on the Soldier Field refurbishment like 15 years ago? $2 billion plus? Methinks quite a bit of that money went in people’s pockets if the stadium is already in that bad of a shape

  6. Give the political cheap shots a rest about the gun violence in Chicago, the entire country has a gun problem. It’s not unique to Chicago – I live in Texas and the other day, 2 more people were shot in a park in Uvalde so spare us the nonsense. All big cities experience big crime problems.
    It pains me to say this because I grew up in Chicago and always felt that the old Soldier Field was a great setting for football but I agree, the Bears need to move on from there. Even if the city sold that site to the Bears and they could control all events in the building, the traffic and parking situation would still be bad. I’m all in for the move except for the fixed roof idea. Just wouldn’t be the same if the home games weren’t played in the elements. I get it about wanting a roof to make sure conditions would be good for hosting a Super Bowl and other events but I’d play all football games with the roof open, no exceptions. I always thought the Vikings were crazy for agreeing to the closed roof, they had the best cold weather home field advantage of anybody at the old Metropolitan Stadium.

  7. 100 years? Yeah right, just like every other team they’ll be asking taxpayers for a new stadium every 10 years

  8. Yep. One superbowl every 100 years. Sounds about right. Oh wait they’re talking about the stadium. My bad……..

  9. Last year was my last time going to Soldier Field. Chicago is Detroit 2.0 and not getting any better. Moving to Arlington Heights will be a huge improvement for the Bears. However losing Arlington Racetrack sucks, lots of memories there.

  10. Rams and Raiders new homes cost north of 5 billion. Where can that kind of money come from to fund Arlington? Try a 1000 year opportunity

  11. ionlyrootforthewinningteam says:
    September 10, 2022 at 9:52 am
    Last year was my last time going to Soldier Field. Chicago is Detroit 2.0 and not getting any better. Moving to Arlington Heights will be a huge improvement for the Bears. However losing Arlington Racetrack sucks, lots of memories there.

    181Rate This

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    Tracks already closed down. Last race was a year or 2 ago I believe. No races scheduled for 2022 or beyond

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