Bears could leave Soldier Field as early as 2026


by - Senior Writer -
Soldier Field might serve as the home of the Chicago Bears for just five more seasons. (Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports)
Soldier Field might serve as the home of the Chicago Bears for just five more seasons. (Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports)

CHICAGO — The writing is on the wall for the Chicago Bears to depart Soldier Field in the coming years and move to a new stadium that has yet to be built in nearby Arlington Park. The franchise recently bid on the Arlington International Racecourse property, which is located approximately 30 miles from Soldier Field in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Also of note, Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot has made it clear that she is not exactly eager to fund a new stadium for the Bears.

Soldier Field, the downtown Chicago home of the Bears since 1971, originally opened in 1924 and is the NFL's oldest stadium. It also has the lowest capacity of any NFL venue at 61,500. While the team's lease with Soldier Field runs until 2033, the Chicago Tribune reported on Friday that the Bears could pay an $84 million penalty to end the lease as early as 2026.

"The numbers associated with the Soldier Field lease are just small," University of Chicago sports economist Allen Sanderson told the Chicago Tribune. "$84 million is just a fraction of what a new stadium will cost."

Bears ownership probably would not hesitate to pay an $84 million fine in order to expedite the team's relocation by seven years. Assuming that the Bears' bid to purchase the racetrack property is approved, construction of a state-of-the-art stadium likely would soon follow, and the franchise could look to have the venue completed in time for the 2026 NFL season.

Comment on this story
Print   
Send Feedback to Cole Little: Email | Comment
Justin Fields ranked No. 1 in NFL rookie merchandise
Justin Fields ranked No. 1 in NFL rookie merchandise
Bears announce several roster moves
Bears announce several roster moves
Madden 22 ratings released for top rookies including Justin Fields
Madden 22 ratings released for top rookies including Justin Fields
NFL teams will forfeit games if COVID-19 outbreak occurs from unvaccinated players
NFL teams will forfeit games if COVID-19 outbreak occurs from unvaccinated players
Post your comments!
Sign Up for E-Mail News Alerts
Features
Breaking
Daily Digest