Chicago Bears buy Arlington International Racecourse
You must be wondering what Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot thinks about this negotiating tactic now.
The Bears were very keen on moving from Soldier Field to Arlington International Racecourse ownership and signed a purchase contract.
When the story first broke in early summer about the Bears bidding on the property, Lightfoot called it “… negotiating tactics the Bears have used before,” then said added, “… and like most Bears fans, we want the organization to focus on building a winning team on the pitch, finally beating the Packers and being relevant after October. Everything else is just noise. “
The noise is a bit loud at this point.
According to The Athletic, the Chicago mayor still feels he can still work to keep the team in Chicago.
“We are not surprised by this decision. We remain committed to continuing the work to keep the team in Chicago and have informed the Bears that we remain open to discussions,” a spokesperson for the Lightfoot office told The Athletic. . “However, just as the Bears see it as a business decision, so does the city. This season Soldier Field signed a major contract with the Chicago Fire and last weekend Soldier Field hosted the Shamrock Series (Notre Dame). —Both of which are lucrative for the Chicago Park District and the local economy. ”
The Bears sell the stadium every game. It has a capacity of 61,500 seats, the smallest in the NFL.
The Fire’s biggest home entry this season was 15,915 and they had a low crowd of 5,926 for a game in June.
Thus, the city would obviously suffer a hard blow by losing its only NFL team to a suburb, much like New York.
A comment from Lightfoot’s Twitter account said something similar about continuing the discussion: “My statement still stands for the Bears: My administrator remains committed to continuing the work to keep the team in Chicago. ‘ve said several times, our door to town hall remains open. ”
There was no mention of negotiation tactics.
Would the city then try to attract another NFL team to Chicago or an expansion team? It’s still a talking point if the Bears end up landing in Arlington Heights, as this story suggests.
According to WBEZ radio, the Bears wanted to add a bookie to Soldier Field and the town seemed disinterested in the idea. It’s an idea that teams in the league are exploring and the Arizona Cardinals have already embarked on.
Soon after, the Bears made an offer on the property.
WBEZ history stated that the Bears denied that was the reason they made an offer on the Arlington Heights location, and it is true that they have been linked to this property on several occasions. in the past. But talks with the city seemed to come too close to when the Bears bid on the property to think otherwise.
Either way, this is a move that could dramatically increase the franchise’s value from where it is now with their games being played at a 20-year-old rented stadium in downtown Chicago. . The lease runs until 2033. The Bears could break the lease for around $ 84 million, according to a Chicago Tribune report.
The Bears are currently worth $ 3.45 billion, according to Forbes, making them the 10th most valuable North American sports team. The Dallas Cowboys are No.1 with $ 5.5 billion and have their own spectacular and modern dome-shaped facility, while the New England Patriots are valued at $ 4.1 billion, the New York Giants at $ 3.9 billion and the San Francisco 49ers at $ 3.5 billion.
The 326-acre property is currently owned by Churchill Downs Inc. and the offers were accepted and then closed in June. The race track held what has been dubbed the final races on September 25.
The northwestern suburb’s location is close to a highway and a major highway and already has rail service. The development of the property with restaurants and hotels could completely change the whole area.
Building a retractable dome-shaped stadium in the northwest suburbs would require considerable funding, as there is currently no climate in Illinois for publicly-built stadiums. Whether the Bears can swing that remains a problem.
Soldier Field opened on October 9, 1924, but the stadium it once was has all but disappeared except for the exterior wall and columns which made the old facility a favorite of the Chicago architectural community. A completely new stadium was built inside the old outer wall and it opened in 2003.
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