What Will Be The Pros And Cons Of A Bears Move To Arlington Heights?
The Bears made some major news late Tuesday night when it was announced that they had signed a purchase agreement to buy the Arlington Racetrack property in Arlington Heights.
This had been a rumor for quite a while. Riley actually wrote about this a few months ago. The Bears moving to Arlington Heights has always been seen as a bargaining chip to play hardball with the city of Chicago. It doesn't seem to be just a bluff anymore after the latest news.
I'm not a real estate expert but a cursory google search of the term "signed purchase agreement" seems to indicate that the question is when will the Bears move to Arlington Heights, not if they'll move to Arlington Heights.
There is still A LOT to work out for both sides. One big factor is that the Bears have a signed contract with the city of Chicago to play at Soldier Field until 2033 but they do have a buy out of around $80 million beginning in the year 2026. That seems like the most logical escape route from the lakefront for the Bears. It took about 4 years for the Vikings new stadium to be built from announcement to opening day and that's about how far out 2026 is. The $80 million is a drop in the bucket compared to the 1 or 2 billion dollars a new stadium would cost. And even though the NFL has never let a team out of their stadium contract, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has said that the league would help facilitate any move that would be beneficial to both the Bears and the league.
So what would the pros and cons be for a move to Arlington Heights? Here's just a quick list off the top of my head.
- Accessibility to the stadium. It is a nightmare funneling 60,000 fans to the lake front. Public transit basically stops miles away from the stadium. The Metra runs directly to Arlington Heights.
- A stadium actually large enough to host a Super Bowl (they would host the first season the stadium opens). The Bears currently play in the smallest stadium in the NFL.
- The Bears would have control of their own stadium instead of the city. No more high school games being played on the field 2 days before an NFL game.
- Better field. The natural grass at Soldier Field is notoriously horrible.
- Ability to host Final Fours, NCAA Football Championships and other big events that the Bears would profit off of.
- It's not what people are used to
That's literally the only con I can come up with. Chicago's Mayor, Lori Lightfoot is trying to convince the team to stay in Chicago but I don't see why they would. I, like many others, don't really like Mayor Lightfoot too much, but I don't blame her for this one. The Bears exodus from the lakefront has been written in stone for decades, it's only not that it's coming to fruition.
You don't have to plan your Sunday trips to the suburbs quite yet to catch a Bears game but I wouldn't plan on catching them on the lakefront in about 6 or 7 years.
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