Chicago Bears to Arlington Heights: Good, Bad, Ugly

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You’ve heard the news by now- the Chicago Bears have signed the purchase agreement for the Arlington International Racecourse property in suburban Arlington Heights, Illinois. While it’s not set in stone yet that the Bears will move out of Soldier Field, it is looking very likely right now. 

However, this could also be just a negotiating tactic, one that’s very common in American sports. Hold your host city hostage to your demands by telling them you’re ready to move to another one. It’s not a done deal that the Bears will

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Positives

There is a Metra station right across the street, so this venue will be much easier to access, via public transportation.

Chicago will probably be able to host a Super Bowl (and also a Final Four) now as most likely the club will build a dome on the property. How often they get to is another story however, and we’d have to run a significant, sophisticated cost/benefit analysis to see if it’s really worth it.

As they will keep Chicago in their name, the Bears will be just like much of their fanbase, suburbanites who claim they’re from “Chicago.”

Maybe that stupid, never funny, painfully cliche, ridiculously overdone “DA BEARS!!!” SNL bit will FINALLY FUCKING DIE!!! While it is a dumb routine already, it’s probably too dumb to keep doing if they’re in Arlington Heights.

If this move gets the Bears more autonomy over their business, then they should bring in more revenue, and thus improve the quality of the product. At least in theory, but we’ll see. “Trickle down” economics has always been, and always will be a scam that the ultra-rich perpetrate on the rest of us.

Several NFL teams do not play in the city that’s part of their title, so this isn’t new, and it’s mostly the big market clubs that do so (New York, LA, SF etc.) maybe there is a method to this madness after all.

There is a whole lot that you can do, provided you have the right business minds at the helm, with the added land of a suburban property, which one cannot do when limited in a crowded city location.

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Can you trust this club to get it right though?

While parking can suck currently, and there will be issues with it out there as well, the overall parking situation should improve.

A move out to Arlington Heights could honestly open the door to the possibility of Chicago potentially getting a second team, something it desperately needs. At this point, it doesn’t even feel like we have a first team.

Negative

Unless the ownership figures out what the hell they’re doing in terms of hiring the right people to build a winning roster, then they’ll be just as unwatchable as they are now, only they’ll be unwatchable in the northwest burbs instead of the city.

Unless they do something about crowd control/security, the same mean drunks that are in your section at games, starting fights with each other/you will still be there.

Ticket prices will almost certainly be even higher than they are now, which is egregious to say the least.

Traffic is bad on the Kennedy right now, most of the time, it will reach a new level of horror on Bears game days.

While Soldier Field and the lakefront location have plenty of issues, there are a lot of positives to it as well, and those traditions and standards are now thrown out the window.

While the NFL and the Bears are synonymous with soulless selling out already, this all looks like an obvious money grab, even by their standards. The move will not end up being more cost effective for the club’s supporters.

mike-ditka 1985 chicago bears

We’ll still have to endure Mike Ditka endorsing god knows what in ludicrously unwatchable advertising spots, even after the move.

Even if Ditka crosses the rainbow bridge by the time this move is complete, his legacy as a professional pitchman will still live on.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune.

He co-hosts the After Extra Time podcast. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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