Kicking the tires in Arlington Heights.
The Chicago Bears ownership group, which is the McCaskey family, has put in a bid to buy the Arlington International Racecourse property in suburban Chicago. The track is shutting down in September. The 326-acre property is big enough to house a football stadium complete with a parking lot. The Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes said in May that a football stadium is on the table for me. Bears CEO Ted Phillips said, “we recently submitted a bid to purchase the Arlington International Racecourse property. It’s our obligation to explore every possible option to ensure we’re doing what’s best for our organization and its future. If selected, this step allows us to further evaluate the property and its potential.” The Chicago Bears lease with the city of Chicago to use Soldier Field ends in 2033. There are also whispers that the McCaskeys might decide to sell off the business. Others do want the property, and the racetrack owner Churchill Downs will be evaluating all of the proposals in the upcoming weeks.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is also concerned about the state of the Bears business and how the team’s present home might need some upgrades. Lightfoot is not too thrilled with the Bears bid, noting it is probably a negotiating tactic trying to gain some leverage in the talks with the city. One other thing, Lightfoot is not happy with the on-field product and added “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.” Lightfoot is a Bears season ticket customer. The McCaskey family probably want a more modern facility than the one the team uses which was rebuilt 19 years ago. As far as the business, the Bears franchise value should be increasing thanks to new TV deals.
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