Earlier in the year, it became apparent that the Chicago Bears were looking at the possibility of moving away from Chicago to Arlington – a suburb about an hour from their current location.
The team’s ownership even revealed their plans for buying the recently vacated Arlington International Racecourse in Arlington Heights – which had been a popular horse racing destination for many years.
Could The Chicago Bears Be Moving To A Different City?https://t.co/sddfB3HvHF
— SideAction (@SideActionHQ) May 6, 2021
Late Tuesday night, the it was officially reported that the Bears have signed a purchase agreement at Arlington International Racecourse.
“We are not surprised by this move. We remain committed to continuing the work to keep the team in Chicago and have advised the Bears that we remain open to discussions,” a spokesperson for the mayor’s office said in a statement to The Athletic. “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.”
EXCLUSIVE: Bears sign purchase agreement for Arlington Park property https://t.co/jXTV4f8FwR
— Scott Powers (@ByScottPowers) September 29, 2021
“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 statement continued.
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Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot spoke on the Bears’ threat to leave the city if their demands weren’t met, throwing some unwarranted shade at the team in the process.
“As a season ticketholder and longtime Bears fan, I am committed to keeping the ‘Chicago’ name in our football team,” she said. “And like most Bears fans, we want the organization to focus on putting a winning team on the field, beating the Packers finally and being relevant past October. Everything else is noise.”
The Chicago Bears’ current lease with with Soldier Field runs through 2033. But the team could potentially agree to pay a fine if they choose to break their lease.
The team is expected to announce the purchase of Arlington International Racecourse on Wednesday.