Bears ownership is negotiating to purchase the Arlington Heights racetrack property.
September 8th may be the opening night for the National Football League season, but the Chicago Bears ownership group has more important things to do than watch the NFL kickoff its 2022-2023 regular season. Bears ownership will be selling its stadium-village plan to the people of Arlington Heights, Illinois which is a Chicago suburb. Bears ownership is in negotiations with Churchill Downs to buy the local Arlington horse racing track property with building a stadium as a priority once the franchise gets the parcel of land. Bears ownership is stressing that the local session is “informational only and should not be confused with an official public meeting hosted by the Village of Arlington Heights.” That much is true as no plans have been submitted by Bears ownership to Arlington Heights officials. That cannot happen until the property is transferred to the Chicago football team’s ownership.
Bears ownership has a lease to play in Chicago at the city-owned Soldier Field that ends in 2033. But the lease can be broken in 2026. It would cost Bears ownership $84 million to leave. Bears ownership seems uninterested in the city’s attempt to upgrade Soldier Field. Mayor Lori Lightfoot said, “we are doing what we believe is making a compelling case for the Chicago Bears to stay in Chicago. They want a tier one stadium environment to maximize revenues and we agree. And we are going to keep making the case to the Bears, the NFL and the public that a revitalized Soldier Field makes the most economic sense for that storied franchise.” Lightfoot left the door open for another NFL team owner to look at whatever plans Chicago finalizes as a possible replacement team for the Bears in the stadium. Meanwhile Bears ownership will discuss an Arlington Heights vision but probably nothing else at the gathering.
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