Seth Udinski, FISM News
The Chicago Bears are reportedly set in their plans to move out of the city of Chicago amidst the rapidly growing crime crisis in the city.
While the team does not plan to leave the Chicago region or change its city of affiliation, team executives are looking to build a new stadium in the wealthier suburb of Arlington Heights, some 30 miles outside the city limits. The move was first initiated when the organization bought a plot of land in the Chicago suburb in September worth just under $200 million.
Since the purchase of the land, the Bears have hired an architectural firm to draw up plans for a new stadium on the site and said they are only considering moving forward with plans to move to Arlington Heights.
“As part of our mutual agreement with the seller of that property, we are not pursuing alternative stadium deals or sites, including renovations to Soldier Field, while we are under contract,” the Bears said in a statement to the Daily Herald. “We have informed the City of Chicago that we intend to honor our contractual commitments as we continue our due diligence and predevelopment activities on the Arlington Heights property. In the meantime, we remain committed to fulfilling our Permit Operating Agreement (POA) at Soldier Field.”
For the better part of the last century, the team has played at historic Soldier Field in downtown Chicago. The stadium was built in the 1920s, when it was common for professional sports teams to play their home games in the heart of major cities, where there was considerably less automobile traffic and generally safer streets.
But throughout the 20th and 21 centuries, increased inner-city traffic, as well as an uptick in crime, have caused many teams to move out of downtown and to the outskirts of major cities or even outside the city limits altogether. The Bears are reportedly the latest of these clubs to seek a new location.
The Daily Wire ran a report detailing Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s last-ditch attempt to coax the team to stay in the city limits. Mayor Lightfoot is reportedly proposing somewhere between $900 million and $2.2 billion to either build the team a new arena in the city limits or perform a serious overhaul of Soldier Field, which, even with its early-2000s renovations, is fundamentally outdated.
The specifics of Lightfoot’s deal are still unclear, as some have speculated the new stadium would be a multipurpose facility with the Bears as its main attraction. Others have said it would belong to the Bears alone.
The report indicates that Lightfoot’s attempt will likely be to no avail, as the Bears, like many other large Chicago-based companies, are looking to get out of the city that has been the poster child for the effects of Democratic policies like anti-gun laws, soft-on-crime policies, and anti-police rhetoric.
Barring a restructuring of their stadium deal, the Bears will remain at Soldier Field stadium at least until the year 2033. Still, evidence seems to suggest the team will leave Chicago in the near future.