Chicago sportswriters suffer outbreak of wanting to build the Bears a $7.5b suburban stadium

So the first article I happened upon this morning had this headline:

Arlington Park, Bears Could Give Chicagoland the Stadium It Needs

The impetus for this is that yesterday the owner of the racetrack in the Chicago suburb of Arlington Heights announced it was putting the track up for sale, and the writer of the article — NBC Chicago’s Adam Hoge — decided this would be a good opportunity to complain about how the Bears‘ completely-rebuilt-in-2002-at-$660-million-in-public-cost Soldier Field is a dump and needs to be replaced:

For a venue so perfectly placed between downtown and Lake Michigan, Soldier Field offers nothing in terms of convenience. It’s hard to access, with limited public transportation options and a less than ideal tailgating experience depending on where you’re lucky enough to park. God bless the fans who huddle together in the dark North Garage with the sweet smell of urine lingering in the cold air.

The only way to get to Arlington Heights by public transit is a commuter rail line, and it’s hard to see how building a new stadium will stop Bears fans from peeing where they park, but okay, I’ve read enough, it’s just this one sportswriters’ hobby horse. Probably not enough to glorify with an FoS post.

Let’s see, scroll down to the next stadium article in my Google News search, and what the

O’Donnell: It’s time for George S. Halas Stadium at Arlington Park

It is urgently incumbent upon regional politicians and civic planners to begin a campaign to get a global-class Chicago Bears stadium built as a profitable symbol of the rebirth of the 326-acre site…

Probable price: $7.5 billion.

Reasonable target for opening: 2027.

And oh my god here’s another one!

Okay, one article on a pipe-dream Bears stadium in the suburbs is just a single sportswriter stuck for a column idea on a slow news day; three articles on the same day means something is afoot. Unless Hoge, Chicago Daily Herald writer Jim O’Donnell, and the Arlington Cardinal’s unbylined blogger had dinner last night and hatched a conspiracy, clearly this idea is out there somewhere in the zeitgeist, and Chicagoland sportswriters are either picking up on it or agreeing to carry water for someone who wants this to happen. (Given that two of the articles are in suburban papers, I’m guessing either an Arlington-area politician or developer, but that’s purely a guess.) According to the Arlington Cardinal piece, there was some talk of a Bears stadium in Arlington Heights in the 1980s, but surely all the people involved in that would be dead now, right? Or is this some kind of Green Goblin thing where someone is trying to carry on his father’s evil legacy?

Regardless of the reason, there is now enough printed documentation for all future articles about the Bears’ stadium situation — which, let me reiterate, is that the team owners just got more than $600 million in public cash to, by all accounts, ruin a landmarked building — to include a line about a “rumored stadium in Arlington Heights.” Which can only make Bears owner Virginia Halas McCaskey happy, since it increases her leverage to seek whatever she might want, though given that she’s now 98 years old it’s hard to picture her waging a battle to open a new stadium in the year she turns 104. Until more facts emerge, I’m definitely suspecting the Green Goblin; though he lives in New York, so maybe it’s actually the work of one of these guys?

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6 comments on “Chicago sportswriters suffer outbreak of wanting to build the Bears a $7.5b suburban stadium

  1. Chicago sportswriters have been requesting a new stadium since September 2003 when the new Soldier Field opened.

    Personally, I think the Arlington land is too valuable to have a stadium and parking lot take up all of that acreage. But we’ll see. We all know that’s not an obstacle for those who want to use our tax money…

  2. A great case of some moron thinking, hey LA turned their aging racetrack to a stadium development, why can’t we.

    Well, if the Halas family wants to fund the development (a la Kroenke) and get the second NFL team (yeah right) to occupy the mega development.

    A good laugh to start the day.

  3. The writer bemoans the sad fact that Glenview NAS was repurposed for such a proletarian function as housing, then recommends the lowest possible use for a very valuable piece of land: a stadium and parking lot. Probably better economics from simply paving the whole place and doing the parking lot without the stadium.

    1. The Arlington Heights Bears have been a meme in Chicago sports since the 1980’s. The only thing different now for the suburban media is that the horse track is actually being sold, so it’s the last time to indulge in suburban stadium fantasies.

      There’s nothing to leverage this time around. There’s no available land in the actual city of Chicago that could fit a new NFL stadium even if desired, and the Park District patronage machine is happy with Soldier Field as is (unlike pre-2003 when nobody except the Bears rented Soldier Field)

      Arlington Heights (pop. 75K) couldn’t pay for an NFL stadium even if they wanted to. The McCaskeys have to deal with private land owners with their own money if they want their situation to change.,amp.html

  4. Anyone who thinks a better fan experience will stop Chicago fans using parks and front lawns as toilets should spend a couple of hours with the residents of Lakeview…

    Also, the writer (Hoge) appears to have forgotten what the original purpose of soldier field was and why it is where it is.

    Sometimes I fear for the human race. Not much, but I do.

  5. I remember the Arlington Heights rumors/saber-rattling from the ’80s but apparently it was a thing earlier than that as the link explains. (Sadly, vaportecture in 1975 was nowhere near as fun as it is today.)

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