Home to the Chicago Bears since 1971, some fans told NBC 5 they’re not ready to see their favorite team leave Soldier Field.
“The Bears and Soldier Field goes together,” said Keith Blassingill. “It’s like peanut butter and jelly. It goes together.”
“It’s such a part of the city and the culture here, you know,” said Justin Montgomery. “Soldier Field is the Chicago Bears in many ways.”
The Bears announced Wednesday morning it signed an agreement to buy the Arlington Park property for nearly $200 million. The deal would move them 30 miles away from Chicago to Arlington Heights.
“I think it’s a good move for them,” said Grant Harrison. “A lot of people come in from the suburbs now.”
“I’m for it. I think they obviously need a change of pace no pun intended,” said Chris Tschida. “I think its one of the hardest stadiums to get too in all the major sports out there.”
Soldier Field underwent major renovations back in 2003 and right now can hold around 61,000 fans. Bars, restaurants, and other businesses nearby rely on home games for the extra financial boost.
“You know, as a fan I see both points. As a business owner, it’s pretty scary,” said Luke Pesha. “We’re just recovering. We’re coming back and the Bears are a huge influence on our fourth quarter.”
Pesha owns Chicago Sports and Novelty on Michigan Avenue. It burned down last summer during the riots and reopened weeks ago in time for the Bears season opener. He’s hoping his store won’t take another hit with the Bears possible move to the suburbs.
“Luckily, it’s a few years out,” he said. “If they did do the move so hopefully we could recover, but it’s just a little disheartening because you’re going through all of this pandemic and the rebuilt and everything that’s involved and then we’re two weeks in and the Bears might move to Arlington.”
Pesha and others fans said they will have to wait and see. The Bears lease at Soldier Field isn’t up until 2033. The earliest they can break the lease is in 2026, but they’d have to pay an $84 million penalty.