Will the Chicago Bears really leave Soldier Field for the suburbs?

Bears game at Soldier Field. (Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports)
Bears game at Soldier Field. (Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports) /

The mayor of a Chicago suburb says the Chicago Bears are seriously considering moving to a new stadium, but would they really leave Soldier Field?

Soldier Field has been the home of the Chicago Bears for 50 years. Will it still host the NFL team in a few years?

The mayor of Arlington Heights, Illinois, suggests the organization could change venues to the suburbs.

Mayor Tom Hayes told Fox 32 Chicago that Arlington Park is being considered by the Bears for the site of a new stadium.

“I think the Bears are seriously considering it because it’s such a unique piece of property,” Hayes said. “It has so much going for it in terms of its location in the northwest suburbs where a lot of their audience is.”

Don’t buy the Bears leaving Soldier Field just yet

Arlington Park is 30 miles away from Soldier Field and is set to be sold, demolished and redeveloped. That’s why it’s coming up in discussions for the Bears, but also why the idea of the team moving should be met with skepticism.

It behooves the Arlington Heights mayor and the people involved in the push for redevelopment to toss the Bears out there as a potential partner.

It’s also an advantage to the team to use the Arlington Park location as a negotiating tactic with the City of Chicago when it comes to addressing Soldier Field.

The current stadium only holds 61,500 fans. It has the smallest capacity in the NFL. It’s also approaching 100 years. Despite a renovation finished in 2003, it needs work.

The Bears will want to stay at Soldier Field and Chicago will definitely want to keep them there. For now, this feels like a lot of talk that will come to nothing. It’ll take years for the Arlington Park location to become truly viable in any case.

Of course, the situation will change if Chicago doesn’t give the Bears what they want in terms of stadium improvements.

Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot appears to understand that.

“I think it’s incumbent on us as a city to step up and look at ways in which we can make sure that the Bears fans, but also the Bears as an organization, have the best opportunities to maximize the fan experience and, of course, maximize revenues,” she told FOX 32.

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