Joliet is a new contender in the stadium game.
The Chicago Bears ownership group has put in a bid to buy the Arlington International Racecourse property in suburban Chicago. The track is shutting down soon. The 326-acre property is big enough to house a football stadium complete with a parking lot. But Arlington Heights is not the only Chicago area municipality that could be kicking the tires on trying to attract the McCaskey family’s football business. Joliet, Illinois wants to speak to the McCaskey family trying to sell Joliet as a possible destination. Joliet’s bid is a longshot at best. Earlier this summer, 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. Others want the Arlington International Raceway property.
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. Oh, 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, McCaskey’s Bears franchise is one of the most valuable sports businesses on the globe.
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