Here at the sports desk located somewhere below decks of the Good Pirate Ship RedState, we believe in actual diversity of thought. This is as opposed to the stock issue definition liberals use for “diversity,” which in practice means attempting diverse means of canceling anyone who dares step outside the approved groupthink daily mantras. Anyway, in the spirit of genuine diversity, some thoughts regarding a recent post by fellow RedStater Levon Satamian regarding the Chicago Bears determination to build and move into a new stadium out in the ‘burbs (Arlington Heights, to be precise) of Chi-Town.
First, the Bears aren’t moving from Soldier Field’s inconvenient downtown Chicago location anytime soon. The team has signed a purchase agreement to buy a 326 acre site presently occupied by the closed Arlington International Racecourse horse racing facility, but the deal is not yet fully completed. Unless the Bears want to play in the middle of the racetrack, it’s going to be several years before a stadium is built and approved on the site, although given Chicago’s recent record playing in close proximity to that stuff doubtless accumulated in large piles behind the horse stalls seems appropriate.
So why would the Bears want to leave Soldier Field? Let us count the ways, none of which have anything to do with the city’s crime rate. Soldier Field has managed the rare accomplishment of losing its status as a National Historical Landmark due to a thoroughly botched “upgrade” in the 2000s. It is too small to host major events such as the Super Bowl. There’s woefully insufficient parking. Traffic to and from the stadium on game days is miserable. Worst of all for Bears fans is that Aaron Rodgers keeps showing up every year. The team’s fervent hope is that a new stadium will bring increased revenue and fortunes on the field. Alas, this flies in the face of how Chicago has been so bad for so long Green Bay could start Jake from State Farm at quarterback and still win 40-17.
The City of Chicago, via the Chicago Park District, owns Soldier Field and shows no interest in selling the property. Like every professional sports franchise, the Bears wish for full control of their home turf so they can get all the money from all events. As the Bears ownership does not have $5B laying around like Rams owner Stan Kroenke did when he built SoFi Stadium, presumably whoever presently calls the shots (most likely not actual owner Virginia Halas McCaskey, who turned 99 this past January) will endeavor to find some mixed-use developers to make the Arlington Heights site not solely the team’s financial burden to build.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has floated some wild fantasies regarding upgrading Soldier Field to keep the Bears there. The team is not interested. Some of Lightfoot’s plans are estimated to cost $2.2B, a number only three or four dozen higher than the number of bullets fired throughout the Windy City every weekend.
So no, it isn’t Chicago’s crime rate that has the Bears longing to lose elsewhere. One could argue the actual crime here is a combination of what the team charges for tickets and the product it fields most every Sunday. This properly noted, if you’re a Bears fan, you hopefully know by now there will be no updated version of the Super Bowl Shuffle anytime soon.