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Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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Richton Park Joins Growing List of Bears Stadium Suitors

  • Southern Chicagoland suburb touts high income, access to downtown
  • NFL team amassing lengthy list of potential stadium sites
Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears’ search for a new stadium site is starting to look like the back of a concert tour T-shirt.

As the NFL team continues its self-described stalemate with Arlington Heights, Illinois over a tax dispute, suburban Richton Park has now become the latest Chicagoland municipality to make a play for the franchise.

The town joins rival bids from Aurora, Naperville, Waukegan, and the city of Chicago itself.

“I understand how the complexity of completing a stadium deal at the former Arlington Park site can be frustrating,” wrote Richton Park mayor Rick Reinbold in a letter to the Bears. “Allow me to interest you in the greenfield opportunities awaiting the Bears in Richton Park!”

Reinbold touted the town’s median household income of $98,000 per year and proximity to area highways and mass-transit systems.

The southern suburban town is about 32 miles from Soldier Field, closer to Chicago’s downtown than the Waukegan and Aurora options. But for the Bears, the issue is likely more about economics than geography.

“What is so obvious here is the team playing the municipalities off each other,” Andrew Brandt — former Green Bay Packers executive and executive director of Villanova’s Moorad Center for the Study of Sports Law — told Front Office Sports. “The Bears are taking advantage, and the better deal they strike now means more revenue later.”

The Bears’ vision has been centered on a domed stadium and entertainment district capable of hosting major events such as the Super Bowl and Final Four. Initial cost projections are in the vicinity of $5 billion.

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