Bears make offer to purchase racetrack in Chicago suburb, site of potential stadium

The Bears have made their strongest statement yet that they will consider moving out of Soldier Field.

Days after the mayor of the Chicago suburb of Arlington Heights said the Bears might move to his city, the Bears confirmed that they are considering buying the Arlington International Racecourse, a stadium-sized property about 30 miles from Soldier Field.

“We recently submitted a bid to purchase the Arlington International Racecourse property,” Bears President and CEO Ted Phillips said. “It’s our obligation to explore every possible option to ensure we’re doing what’s best for our organization and its future. If selected, this step allows us to further evaluate the property and its potential.”

The obvious reason for an NFL team to buy a property like the Arlington race track is that they’re considering leaving their stadium and moving into a new stadium. It’s also possible, however, that the Bears’ primary interest isn’t in moving to Arlington, but in showing Chicago that the team has other options in an attempt to get a better lease at Soldier Field.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has acknowledged that the Bears have valid concerns about Soldier Field, but the Bears’ lease with the city to play at Soldier Field runs through 2033 and Lightfoot said she is confident the Bears won’t move, and that the NFL wouldn’t let them if they tried.