The Chicago Bears could leave the iconic Soldier Field sooner than expected, as the team aims to close its purchase agreement for the Arlington International Racecourse by early 2023.
The Bears first expressed interest in the venue in June 2021, submitting a bid to purchase it as a potential site for a new stadium. The team later signed a purchase agreement for the property in September valued at $197.2 million.
- The 326-acre facility is roughly 30 miles north of downtown Chicago.
- Escrow on the Arlington property won’t close until the end of 2022 or in Q1 2023.
- Benefits of the site include increased stadium capacity, an option for an enclosed stadium, and a potential sports betting lounge.
Bears’ Current Home
Chicago city officials have insisted that the Bears could remain at Soldier Field — their home since 1971 — as the team’s lease runs through 2033, according to WGN News. However, the Bears could pay $84 million to the city to leave the historic venue after 2026.
Soldier Field, which is owned by the Chicago Park District, underwent renovations between 2001-2003 at a reported cost of $733 million, including $432 million in taxpayer dollars.
Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot says she wants to keep the Bears in the city and is willing to work with the team to improve Soldier Field’s viability as a year-round venue.