Posted on: September 18, 2022 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

Last year my family and I went to the Bears vs. 49ers game.

We left our house at 9 a.m. The game was at noon. It usually takes about 25 minutes for us to get downtown, so we made sure we left early enough to find a parking spot. We weren’t early enough. We parked in one of the lots. It took us an hour to get inside the stadium.

This is just one of many reasons Soldier Field doesn’t work for the Bears. It is a pain to get there. The L doesn’t go there. There is no train. The buses are packed and uncomfortable. Parking is a challenge. So it doesn’t work for the fans, but it doesn’t work for the Bears either. They can never get the grass up to par, and the stadium’s small capacity doesn’t allow the franchise to get the revenue other teams get.

Believe me, that’s just a start on Soldier Field’s problems.

Mohammed Jbarra

Freelance Contributor

Here’s the good news: The Chicago Bears most likely won’t be calling Soldier Field home much longer. Team owners have been in negotiations with the city of Arlington Heights for the piece of land with the Arlington International Racecourse. And the deal is getting closer day by day. 

Some people think the Bears will lose the charm of being in a century-old stadium. Chicagoans also might not like the idea of moving to the suburbs, into a massive complex. Those things are true enough.

So why do the Bears want to move? There are plenty of reasons and the majority of them deal with revenue. 

Soldier Field is currently the stadium with the lowest seat capacity in the NFL. So they sell the least amount of tickets in the NFL. They can’t justify raising ticket prices because the Bears have had no recent success. Meanwhile, since Soldier Field is owned by the Chicago Park District, the Bears have to share much of their revenue with the city.

The Chicago Bears say they “envision a multi-purpose entertainment district anchored by a new, best-in-class enclosed stadium,” according to their website.

On Sept. 8, at John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights, the Bears discussed their vision for the franchise if the deal goes through. They picked the high school to meet in because it was close to the community they were looking to build in. The statement released by the Bears stated that the entire project will be “one of the largest development projects in Illinois state history.”

The 326 acres of land the Bears are looking at will include a stadium paid for by the Bears and another huge allotment of land, which will possibly be paid for by taxpayers. These 326 acres will be super beneficial for the Bears because they will maximize their revenue to the nth degree. Meanwhile, the state of Illinois will be able to host Final Fours, Wrestlemanias, and even Super Bowls.

And they won’t have to wait for the NFL to give them a Super Bowl to host. When the NFL hears a team is getting a new stadium, they tend to grant that city a Super Bowl.

For example, both the Atlanta Falcons and the Los Angeles Rams and/or Chargers hosted Super Bowls just a year after their new stadiums were built (Atlanta hosted Super Bowl LIII in 2019 and Los Angeles hosted Super Bowl LVI in 2022). More recently, the Las Vegas Raiders, whose new stadium was built in 2020, are set to host next season’s Super Bowl in 2024.

The deal is close to being agreed upon, though the Bears won’t move to Arlington for a few years, until a new stadium is built. But the point is, Chicago is one of the most historic franchises in the NFL, from the third biggest market in the United States. 

More fans, television time, merchandise sold. That’s what makes a team a big market franchise. It’s time to act like one.