How many seats would Bears’ proposed Arlington Heights stadium have?

·2 min read

At this point, the expectation is the Chicago Bears will be moving to the suburbs to build a new stadium in Arlington Heights. The city of Chicago is doing everything it can to keep the Bears at Soldier Field, but it seems like a long shot.

The Bears will unveil conceptual plans for their proposed Arlington Heights stadium on Thursday, and there are a lot of questions about would it would look like and what the capacity would be.

Soldier Field has a capacity of 61,500, which is the smallest in the entire NFL. So what can we expect from a new, state-of-the-art stadium?

Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune spoke with someone quite familiar with NFL stadiums — Marc Ganis of Sportscorp — and that was one of the questions. According to Ganis, the Arlington Heights stadium would have a greater capacity than Soldier Field, but it still sounds like it would be below 70,000.

“I doubt they will go that large,” Ganis told Biggs, referring to the 81,441-seat capacity of Lambeau Field in Green Bay. “I would think the high-60s would be the right number. There’s an odd cost factor associated with the geometry of the stadium. The most expensive seats to construct are the seats that are the furthest away from the field as you expand the building. As you increase the capacity, you have to expand the size of the entire building. So you add five rows at the top of the stadium to add another few thousand seats. Those are the most expensive seats to build while being the seats that generate the lowest revenue.

“Is it 66,000? 69,000? Do they have an ability to have standing room to get it to 72,000? That is the general range.”

Bears President/CEO Ted Phillips, who’s retiring after this season, said the organization expects to close on the land later this year or perhaps in early 2023.

“Our focus for long-term development is exclusively on that property at Arlington Park,” Phillips said in January.

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Story originally appeared on Bears Wire