One of the most significant storylines surrounding the Bears --- outside of their 0-3 start to the season --- is their plans to find a new stadium.
On Wednesday, Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson --- who has released two joint statements with the Bears on the subject --- joined Football Night in Chicago to discuss where the city and the team stand in conversations.
"Our teams have had real productive conversations to this point. And I fully expect those positive conversations to continue," Johnson said.
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The Bears and Johnson have had two separate meetings. The details from their conversations are unknown to outsiders. But we do know they've talked about the Bears and their stadium plans, certainly.
They've released two joint statements on account of their meetings. Here's the most recent statement from the last meeting.
“Today we met and discussed our shared values and commitment to the City of Chicago, the importance of deep roots and the need for equitable community investment throughout the city. We are both committed to the idea that the city and its major civic institutions must grow and evolve together to meet the needs of the future. We look forward to continuing the dialogue around these shared values," the statement read.
What is the purpose behind these statements?
"Well, it's my style of leadership," Johnson said. "It's what the people of Chicago elected me to do is to bring people together. Being collaborative, compassionate and competent, those are the hallmarks of my administration. It's what I expect, quite frankly, all leaders to possess."
Of course, the city of Chicago will fight to keep the Bears at Soldier Field.
Unfortunately, the Bears likely departure from Soldier Field is strictly about business. It's not an easy move to give up the unmatched backdrop of Lake Michigan and the city skyline on the city's lakefront.
But it's business. And the Bears' business at Soldier Field is not an efficient one. The team rents from the Chicago Park District to play at Soldier Field. They're one of two NFL teams (Green Bay Packers) that don't own the stadium they play in.
For this reason, the Bears are looking at the opportunity of investing in a stadium they can call theirs for the purpose of creating a lucrative return on investment. Through full ownership of ticket sales, concessions, parking, naming right, etc. the Bears can create a massive stream of revenue themselves.
Not to mention, with the possession of a domed stadium, the Bears can take advantage of hosting year-round events such as concerts, NCAA sporting events, WWE events, etc.
But just because the Bears have created a blueprint to move out of the city doesn't mean it'll be easy, however. They've already run into a massive speed bump in Arlington Heights with the 326-acre property they purchased for $197.2 million.
The property was previously valued at $33 million by Cook County. However, during a triennial reassessment, Assessor Fritz Kaegi’s office placed the value at $197 million. That six-fold spike naturally would send the Bears’ property tax bill through the roof.
Since then, the Bears have moved off Arlington Heights as a "singular focus," opening up their stadium endeavors to other municipalities. Multiple, including Waukegan, Aurora and Naperville have come forward with respective pitches to host the next Chicago Bears stadium.
That's where the city of Chicago comes in. They see the Bears' step back from Arlington Heights as an opportunity to convince them to stay in the city. That won't come without some ownership transfer, or another grand gesture, certainly.
Johnson praised the Bears' history and their organization. He reiterated his focus, however, is on the citizens of Chicago, Bears fans, and especially, taxpayers.
"The Bears organization has meant so much to families throughout history," Johnson said. "It is a public good, quite frankly. I'm grateful that we have forged a relationship in the early phases of our conversations to ultimately provide the people of Chicago what they deserve is a program that we can be proud of, a winning team and, of course, protecting the interests of taxpayers."