All signs suggest that the Chicago Bears will soon leave Soldier Field. The club has officially acquired a 326-acre property in Arlington Heights. It is almost certain that a modern facility will be built there.
Who will build the new Chicago Bears stadium?
Initially, no one thought that the Windy City american football team would be trying on a new arena. In July 2022, mayor of Chicago Lori Lightfoot announced three proposals of upgrading Soldier Field in partnership with Landmark Development. The nearly century-old facility would be modernized and brought up to current standards. The investment, depending on the option chosen, would cost between $900 million and $2.2 billion. All with an eye on the Bears, who are far behind the Chicago Bulls in terms of titles won for the city. Fans of the six-time NBA champions may feel a tad undervalued, as their team may still have to use the run-down United Centre arena for the next few decades. However, Bulls fans can make up for any inconvenience by following NBA odds and earning attractive prizes thanks to it.
Finally, the topic of the Chicago Bears playing at Soldier Field, which will be modernized in the near future, seems to be out of the question. In January 2023, Kevin Warren was announced as the club's new president and CEO. The former executive of the St. Louis Rams, Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions will become a boss in April. It is already clear that one of his first tasks will be to lead the club to a new home. Besides, he already has experience in this. In 2016, during his tenure with the Vikings, the ultra-modern U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis opened. As Warren admitted, the planning of this arena alone took a year. Refining it down to the smallest detail made it a true architectural gem.
What benefits will the new Chicago Bears stadium bring?
The incoming Bears president has not yet officially started being a CEO. Unofficially, he is said to have been participating in the operation to finalize the purchase of a plot of land in Arlington Heights. The matter had been dragging on since September 2021, when then club president Ted Phillips signed a preliminary agreement through which the Chicago team was to become the owner of the Arlington Park land and the horse racing track there. However, this was the beginning of an arduous process that was not completed until February 2023, which resulted in the football team from the Windy City becoming the owner of the designated property for $197.2 million. This transaction almost closes speculation about the Bears' future at Soldier Field.
The investment in Arlington Heights is primarily dictated for economic reasons. It would create nearly 10,000 new jobs and have a very positive impact on Chicago's revenue. As calculated, the income to the city budget would increase by almost $1.5 billion. Everything has to do, of course, with the fact that not only the stadium would be built, but also the service facilities adjacent to it. Stores, cafes, bars are just some of the commercial outlets around the future arena. They will be the beating heart of Arlington Heights, which, combined with the Bears' new home, will be a real city within a city.
With a capacity of 61,500, Soldier Field is currently the smallest stadium in the NFL. The Chicago Bears have a contract for its lease until 2033. However, there is a wicket by which the NFL club authorities can terminate it until 2026. At that point, the contractual penalty will be $86 million, but that won't be a problem. Soldier Field itself, however, doesn’t need to fear for its future. The main user of the facility will then become the Chicago Fire performing in MLS. The soccer team has already played at the arena from 1998-2001, 2003-2005, and currently plays its home games there from 2020. After the Bears move out, the stadium is likely to be upgraded in the cheapest of three options proposed by Chicago's mayor. There will be no enlargement of the stands and construction of a full canopy. All work will be limited to making Soldier Field more suitable for soccer games and other non-sporting events.