Lori Lightfoot open to Chicago exploring buying Bears: 'Why not?'

·2 min read

Lori Lightfoot on Chicago buying Bears: 'Why not?' originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Why not? That's what Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot had to say about the city buying the Bears to prevent them from moving to Arlington Heights.

"I didn't say that I would support the city buying the bears, but I think it's an interesting exercise for a feasibility study," Lightfoot said. We'll see what the members of the City Council say."

Lightfoot has reiterated her desire to keep the Bears in Chicago beyond their current Soldier Field lease, which expires in 2033. The Bears could break the lease in 2026 for $84 million.

The team hasn't been willing to discuss staying in Chicago with the city according to Lightfoot.

"The bottom line is this we're going to we're continuing to do our work to try to keep the Bears in the city of Chicago, but it's got to be a deal that makes sense not just for the Bears, but for the taxpayers," Lightfoot said

"The deal that was signed in the early 2000s, clearly, the Bears don't believe that that deal makes sense for them, but it doesn't make sense for the city either."

The problem is the McCaskey family have made it clear they have no intentions of selling the team. Of course, Chicago’s city council would have to approve of the plan, too.

It seems unlikely the city could finance buying a multi-billion sports team with a myriad of budget issues plaguing the city. And that's if the NFL would even allow it.

12 Ward Alderman George Cardenas' plan for the city to buy the team from the McCaskey family includes the sale of “shares” back to Bears fans.

If both of those huge hurdles are hypothetically cleared, Cardenas’ plan resembles how the Green Bay Packers offer “shares” to their fans. Periodically, the Packers have offered common “stock” to their fans, including a sale that started this week. But really these “stocks” are donations to the team, as fans who buy them receive no profits from their “shares” in the team, nor can they resell them publicly. What Packers fans do get for their $300 (plus a $35 handling fee) is a neat piece of paper saying they “own” part of the team to frame, and access to “exclusive shareholder merchandise.”

Back in September the Bears announced they’d signed a purchase agreement to acquire Arlington Park from Churchill Downs Inc. That is a big step towards the team moving out of the city and into the suburbs, but it is by no means a done deal. The team has said more work needs to be done before they finally close on the deal to buy Arlington Park.

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