Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot admonished Bears management Thursday after they said they were looking into buying a stadium site outside of the city, fueling speculation about moving the team to the suburbs.
Earlier Thursday, the Bears announced they were putting in a bid to purchase the Arlington International Racecourse. Arlington Heights is a suburb of Chicago, located 30 miles from Soldier Field, where the Bears have played since 1971.
“We recently submitted a bid to purchase the Arlington International Racecourse property,” president and CEO Ted Phillips said in a statement. “It’s our obligation to explore every possible option to ensure we’re doing what’s best for our organization and its future. If selected, this step allows us to further evaluate the property and its potential.”
Lightfoot was not too happy and sent out her own statement, reminding the Bears they are locked into a lease until 2033.
She said the Bears had tried similar tactics in order to get a new stadium and that she was “committed to keeping the name ‘Chicago’ in our football team.”
“Like most Bears fans, we want the organization to focus on putting a winning team on the field, beating the Packers finally and being relevant past October. Everything else is just noise,” Lightfoot said.
Soldier Field opened in 1924 and has gone through several renovations. The stadium is the NFL’s smallest in terms of capacity, seating just 61,500 for football.