On Monday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot made a last-ditch appeal for the Bears to remain in their stadium of more than 50 years, ranging in price from $900 million to $2.2 billion. Even for their home stadium, Soldier Field, the Chicago Bears announced in a press statement earlier this month that they wouldn’t accept any other proposals.
This week, the NFL team told ESPN that they still felt that way and that they were committed to relocating to a different facility more than 30 miles away. According to a mutual agreement with the seller of that property, the team “is not actively exploring stadium deals or sites at alternate locations, including upgrades to Soldier Field, while we are under contract.”
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The Bears intend to relocate to Arlington Park, which has previously been the Arlington Heights location of Churchill Downs’ thoroughbred racing. According to numerous evaluations of crime statistics, that region has crime levels that are far lower than the national median. According to census data, the region’s median household income is above $100,200, while just over 4% of people live in poverty.
In contrast, Chicago experiences high crime rates marked by a record number of shootings. According to census data, the city’s median household income was close to $62,100, and more than 17% of people lived in poverty. In addition to the Bears’ unequivocal denial, Lightfoot told AP News that the team declined to schedule a meeting with her.
Lightfoot has continued to pursue further conversations despite this. The $900 million to $2.2 billion would cover three potential restoration alternatives, according to Lightfoot’s explanation in the news release on Monday. These options might produce a fully enclosed stadium, a dome stadium, or a multi-purpose stadium suited for soccer matches and concerts.
The first two alternatives, according to Lightfoot, were put forth with the Bears in mind. She said that staying at Soldier Field rather than going to Arlington Park will save the Bears between $1 and $1.5 billion in costs. A website called “Re-Imagine Soldier Field” was also launched by the mayor in a last-ditch bid to get the Bears back. The website provides digital renderings of desired renovations for download.
One of the most recent teams to leave the city is the Bears. Numerous multibillion-dollar corporations, including the significant global hedge fund company Citadel, have left or want to leave, as The Daily Wire revealed. It has taken Lightfoot about a year to fight to keep her home team from moving.
In September of last year, the Bears revealed that they had signed a Purchase and Sale Agreement (PSA) for Arlington Park and had committed to paying a little over $197 million for the transfer. Numerous significant business owners claimed that their decision to leave was motivated by social problems and rising crime rates.
The Bears didn’t go into much detail about their decision to leave their longtime city home base, despite the fact that Arlington Park has plenty of nearby lands available for development. The Bears had $370 million in revenue and are valued at $4.1 billion by Forbes’ 2021 NFL estimations. As a result, they are ranked sixth among the NFL’s most valued teams.
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