It’s Arlington Park or bust for Chicago Bears


Future of Soldier Field Image: ISFA

The National Football League (NFL) team Chicago Bears are positioned for a future relocation from downtown Chicago to the suburb of Arlington Heights in order to build a new “world-class” stadium.

‘CBS Sports’ stated that Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is proposing the City make its own renovations to keep the team in town. A Mayoral committee is set to recommend Chicago “explore the feasibility” of adding a dome to Soldier Field, the Bears’ longtime open-air stadium, along with other significant updates to the historic venue.

The Chicago Bears are a professional American football team based in Chicago, US. The Bears compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league’s National Football Conference North division.

The 61,500-capacity Soldier Field is a multipurpose stadium on the Near South Side of Chicago, Illinois, United States. It serves as the home stadium of the Chicago Bears.

‘CBS Sports’ further stated that on July 8th, the Bears shot down those proposals, revealing it’s either Arlington Park -where they plan to build their new home – or bust.

Earlier, it was reported that the Chicago Bears have hired an architecture firm and consultants to help them draw up plans for a new stadium in Arlington Heights in Illinois, US, sending the latest signal that the team is serious about bolting from their present digs – Soldier Field – in favor of the suburbs.

According to a statement from a Bears spokesman, “The only potential project the Chicago Bears are exploring for a new stadium development is Arlington Park. As part of our mutual agreement with the seller of that property, we are not pursuing alternative stadium deals or sites, including renovations to Soldier Field, while we are under contract.”

The Bears can exit their Soldier Field lease in 2026, and the team last Fall finalized a purchase agreement for the Arlington International Racecourse, a 326-acre property in Arlington Heights, with eyes on construction of an entirely new complex.

The 35,000-capacity Arlington International Racecourse (formerly Arlington Park) was a horse race track in the Chicago suburb of Arlington Heights, Illinois, US.

Last renovated in 2002, the Soldier Field is an iconic destination among NFL venues because of its history, but it also has the smallest capacity (61,500) of any current stadium. The Arlington Heights area would conceivably also give the Bears room to expand their stadium into a multipurpose entertainment complex.

Mayor Lightfoot has openly floated the idea of enclosing Soldier Field before, most recently in February. But her Lakefront Museum Campus Working Group, established to recommend strategic investments to Chicago’s lakefront landmarks, is now expected to formally propose Soldier Field improvements. This would include rebuilding parts of the nearly 100-year-old stadium and potentially selling or granting naming rights to the venue, which has been home to the Bears since 1971.

If the Bears entertained the dome proposal, it would likely require taxpayer contributions with costs estimated between $400 million to $1.5 billion. The most recent NFL stadiums to open with enclosed roofing include the National Football League (NFL) teams Los Angeles Chargers and Los Angeles Rams’ home pitch – the 70,000-capacity SoFi Stadium in California, which reportedly cost more than $5 billion, and the NFL team Las Vegas Raiders’ 65,000-capacity Allegiant Stadium in Nevada, costing approximately $1.9 billion.

The Bears appear more than willing to take another step forward out of the City. Chicago previously played at the 41,649-capacity Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois, until 1970, but was forced to relocate to a larger stadium due to American Football League (AFL)-NFL merger policies that required all stadiums seat over 50,000 spectators. The Soldier Field has undergone two renovations since 1971, the most recent being in 2002 as the stadium transformed into a state-of-the-art facility for athletic events.

Continue to follow Coliseum for latest updates on venues business news. Coliseum is dedicated towards building the best global community of sports and entertainment venue executives and professionals creating better and more profitable venues.

Become a member of the only Global Sports Venue Alliance and connect with stadiums, arenas and experts from around the world. Apply for membership at and make use of the 365Coliseum Business.

Watch 250 member-exclusive videos with valuable tips for your venue

« Previous News:
» Next News:

Advertisement Coliseum Summit News Banner - SGL System
Advertisement Coliseum Summit news banner - NEXO