Bears potential new stadium
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Illinois Governor Calls Bears $4.7 Billion Stadium Plan a 'Nonstarter

Published May 13, 2024 at 7:09 PM

The Chicago Bears have been harboring plans to replace Soldier Field and recently, they revealed a proposal to erect a new stadium on the site of Arlington Park, a defunct racetrack in Arlington Heights, Illinois. This initiative, dating back to 2021 when the Bears purchased the racetrack, seems poised for a shake-up as Governor JB Pritzker labeled the proposed $4.7 billion project a "nonstarter." According to the governor, to justify state subsidies for a privately owned sports team's stadium, there must be "a demonstrable and tangible benefit to the taxpayers of Illinois."

The proposed stadium would be strategically located on the shores of Lake Erie, south of the existing Soldier Field. It's designed to emulate the state-of-the-art features seen in NFL's latest stadiums, such as the Las Vegas Raiders' Allegiant Dome. Unlike Soldier Field, the new venue will have a fixed roof, which was chosen over a retractable roof to avoid an additional cost of several hundred million dollars, as stated by Kevin Warren, the Bears' president/CEO, during a press conference.

Despite the fixed roof, Warren assured that the stadium would still offer an "outdoor-esque experience," jokingly adding, "You may have to wear sunglasses." This would be a nod to the vibrant atmosphere they intend to maintain, despite the dome and the use of artificial turf.

The new stadium is expected to boast a seating capacity of 65,000, slightly more than Soldier Field's 61,500—the smallest in the NFL. Plans for Soldier Field after the construction of the new stadium include demolishing the old structure but preserving its iconic colonnades. These will be integrated into publicly accessible fields and gardens, maintaining a piece of Chicago's architectural heritage.

May 13   |   63 answers
Illinois Governor Calls Bears $4.7 Billion Stadium Plan a 'Nonstarter

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