Sunday, August 14, 2022

New Documents Reveal Details On Chicago Bears Stadium In Arlington Heights


The Chicago Bears turned the city on its head last year when news broke the organization had placed a bid on the Arlington Park property in Arlington Heights. At 326 acres of land, it represented their first real opportunity to escape Soldier Field for the first time in years. It had been rumored for a long time that the owners weren’t happy with their traditional home. Much of that was from not having any actual say in its construction or upkeep. Those decisions belonged to the Chicago Park District.

Every time the Bears proposed upgrades for the stadium, they were almost always rebuffed. Things came to a head after the CPD ignored their proposal to install a new sportsbook to take advantage of legalized gambling in Illinois. The team placed their bid on the Arlington property two weeks after that. They would go on to win that bid. Now they are likely mere months away from closing the deal.

The intrigue doesn’t end there, though.

Information continues to trickle out on what is happening behind the scenes. George McCaskey and his advisors continue gathering details on how a new stadium could be constructed. Where it gets interesting is what might happen with the rest of the property. It is well-known the Bears want to build a village surrounding the stadium with other revenue opportunities. According to Robert McCoppin of the Chicago Tribune, one new wrinkle has surfaced in those plans.

“Village documents obtained by the Tribune show the highest levels of the team’s administration, including Chairman George McCaskey, have been involved in meetings to make the purchase and subsequent construction of a new football stadium happen. The documents showed that the team deposited $125,000 with the village for studies of the stadium proposal, and they also included a former baseball executive’s proposal to add a minor league baseball complex to the site

…The new baseball fields were proposed by William Larsen, former general manager of the Kane County Cougars minor league team. In an email in February to Mayor Tom Hayes, Larsen wrote that the baseball fields would host four to six teams of undrafted college players.

Larsen said he had no financial or other formal backing for the proposal, and hadn’t heard back from the Bears, but was told by scouts and others in professional baseball that there is a need for undrafted players to chase their dreams of playing professionally.

He estimated 10 to 15 acres would be needed for the project on the 326-acre site, but did not cite any financing or backing for the deal.

He guessed that the games could draw about 450,000 fans a year.”

The Bears wouldn’t do this out of kindness.

Such an idea is about business. While it might sound unusual to consider a baseball park on the property of a professional football team, one must look at the other side of it. If the projection is accurate, that would mean an additional 450,000 people spending their money in the village establishments near the new stadium. A healthy cut of that money would find its way into the team’s pockets. It is an interesting idea.

Chicago Bears could strengthen their connections in baseball too.

That might seem trivial, but it’s not. There are many instances of football organizations getting quality people from other sports. Former Bears GM Jim Finks transitioned to baseball after leaving the team in 1983. It could work both ways. Major league scouts would almost definitely attend games at that new minor league park. They would learn how good it might be to do business with the Bears.

It is always about the long-term outlook. The Chicago Bears will center almost everything around their new stadium when the construction begins. However, this is an excellent opportunity to make it a genuinely multisport property. They might even entice young athletes trying to make it in baseball to consider coming over to football. There are several possibilities involved, and it would only cost 10-15 total acres.

It is a small sacrifice in the grand scheme of things.


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Chuck Cue Farley
Chuck Cue Farley
Jul 1, 2022 11:57 am

It makes sense for team and area as football will only be a very limited number of games yearly ! Unless the Bears and Arlington have other ideas on how to keep people in area and closely around new field , they will need to find other ideas ! This is but one and a good one if done right !

Gator Joe
Gator Joe
Jul 1, 2022 9:59 am

Well we already know that Jenkins and Fields can hit homers so Why NOT?

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