Are the Bears leaving Chicago? Most likely, yes. After submitting a bid in June of 2021 to purchase the Arlington International Racecourse, the Bears have entered a legally binding contract to buy the land and move to Arlington Heights.
Why would the bears want to leave Chicago?
Simple, money. The McCaskeys (Bears owners) do not own Soldier field, meaning they do not earn any money off the parking, food, and only a percentage of the seating; leaving them to only generate revenue from the merchandise stands around the stadium. Also, though Soldier Field is beautiful and placed in the heart of the city, it is old, is the smallest stadium in the NFL, and cannot be renovated to add more seats, due to the “spaceship” nosebleed sections. The aforementioned reasons coupled with the horrendously small parking outside of the stadium, and heavy influx of traffic into and out of the city, has led to the relationship between the Bears and the City of Chicago to sour.
Mayor of Chicago, Lori Lightfoot, has attempted to keep the Bears in place, by posting to twitter images of concepts for a potential renovation to the Bears stadium, one which will include an indoor roof, more seats, and a shopping center right outside of the stadium. Though it does address a few of the Bears issues, it doesn’t tackle their main grievance, money.
In mid September, the Bears released a plan for their new Arlington Heights venue, including a state of the art indoor stadium, massive amounts of parking, and the biggest section of land being used for a “mixed-use district” which essentially would be a shopping area to seasonally be used by the Bears, and later by the city.
Leaving Chicago would be bittersweet for most Bears fans, as though they leave an iconic stadium, in the heart of one the biggest cities in the world, they get a new, beautiful venue, which will cater to more of their needs, inevitably lower ticket prices, and make the in game experience much more exhilarating.