This week the owners of the historic Arlington Race Park have announced they are selling the property. The owners have decided to sell and look to transfer their licensing elsewhere. This is a sad story for many in the Chicagoland area, as stories upon stories have been told about the time and fun had at the historic grounds.
I read a tweet with a poll from ESPN 1000 posing the question: Would you be in favor of the Bears obtaining this land to build a new stadium with more seating and retractable roof in order to host the Bears and potential Super Bowls/Final Fours?
First, let’s talk money. If this were to happen, this stadium is going to cost billions based on what we have seen with new stadiums in LA, Oakland, and Arlington (TX). I do not know how big money things work. I do not know how the finances of new stadiums work: who pays for what and when and why. I do know that the state of Illinois has no money, the Bears apparently have no money, and we are still trying to survive a pandemic. However, the revenue a new stadium could bring in could potentially be massive. More seating would mean more fans at games (provided Bears fans still want to watch the Bears play football). A retractable roof would mean the elements would not be a factor, allowing large events such as the Super Bowl and Final Four to be played there. You would also add in being a new site for a bowl game in college, state championships, and probably more opportunities. It does make sense, it really does.
Great, now let’s get emotional.
DO NOT DO THIS @ CHICAGO BEARS. YOU ARE THE CHICAGO BEARS.
The Chicago Bears do not play indoors at home. They play in the elements that can be as extreme as anywhere, thanks to the bone-chilling wind (not breeze) off the lake and temperatures that turn your noise into a cave with snotsicles hanging down. The Chicago Bears do not play on turf. They play on a natural grass field that can be nicely cut and pure one day, and a mess of dirt and clumps the next. That’s football baby. And the Chicago Bears play in Chicago. Not Arlington Heights.
I think it would be very cool for the city to be able to host huge events like the Super Bowl or Final Fours. We got a little glimpse of what that could be with the NBA All-Star game at the United Center last year. But would that be worth abandoning a field, a lakefront, and a city that helps create a home-field advantage unlike any other in football? I don’t think so.
When the Bears are back in business without the leadership that is in play right now, I want to see the road to the Super Bowl come through Chicago, not through an indoor complex in Arlington Heights.