Solider Field is nearly 100 years-old. It is currently the smallest football stadium in the NFL, seating just 61,500 fans. For the Chicago Bears, one of the league's most storied franchises, coming off a draft where they maybe selected the most important Chicago athlete since Michael Jordan, now is the time to think big. Over the last few weeks the team has been in touch with Mayor Lori Lightfoot about the future of Solider Field. Via FOX32:
"It’s a great, iconic site," Lightfoot said. "But it’s a challenging site, and I think it’s incumbent on us as a city to step up and look at ways in which we can make sure that the Bears fans, but also the Bears as an organization, have the best opportunities to maximize the fan experience and, of course, maximize revenues."
The Bears have a lease with Solider Field that runs through 2033, but that isn't stopping some from dreaming big. Like Tom Hayes, the mayor of the Chicago suburb of Arlington Heights, who just so happens to have a nice big tract of land that is available.
"Certainly, the Arlington Park site is available and we would consider the Chicago Bears a great fit for that particular site."
Hayes said while the Bears have not reached out to him about taking over the massive site now occupied by the Arlington Park race track, he says it's an ideal location for the team because of its large footprint, proximity to major highways and on-site Metra access.
"I think the Bears are seriously considering it because it's such a unique piece of property," Hayes said. "It has so much going for it in terms of its location in the northwest suburbs where a lot of their audience is."
The leap from the fact that the team doesn't appear to have talked to anyone about this to "the Bears are seriously considering" is quite big. Still, the way the modern sports world works, teams do sometimes leave hallowed grounds for more lucrative pastures. The Bears leaving Soldier Field seems crazy, but they wouldn't be the first team to play their home games in a different city than the one in their name.