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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Bears Revive Chicago Stadium Hopes As Season Kicks Off

  • A letter to Bears season ticket holders highlighted the idea of a new stadium in Chicago.
  • The team had been wanting to build a new complex in the suburb of Arlington Heights.
The Chicago Bears logo is seen prior to a game against the New York Jets at Soldier Field.
Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

As the Chicago Bears kick off the 2023 NFL season hosting the division-rival Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field on Sunday, their fans can be newly optimistic about the team’s future in the city.

In a letter to season-ticket holders, Bears president Kevin Warren said the team has reengaged with the City of Chicago, reviving an idea once believed to be dead — a new, indoor stadium complex in downtown Chicago.

With a capacity of 61,500, Soldier Field is among the smallest stadiums in the NFL. Last season, the Bears were next-to-last in average game attendance (59,823), beating out only the Washington Commanders during Dan Snyder’s final season owning the club.

While other NFC North foes like the Detroit Lions celebrate sold out their season tickets, all the Bears’ home games have face-value tickets available on the team’s official website.

It’s been a whirlwind year for the Bears, who lured Warren from his post as commissioner of the Big Ten Conference to lead the team through its stadium journey. 

A former executive with the Minnesota Vikings, Warren was bullish on the Bears’ stadium plans in Arlington Heights until hitting a stalemate with local officials in the Chicago suburb. Since then, a growing list of suburbs have attempted to lure the Bears with stadium proposals, though none have gained significant traction. 

In his letter, Warren acknowledged that Arlington Heights and other municipalities were still under consideration — but the focus was pointedly on the idea of building a new stadium in the city itself.

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