Bears Stadium

Kevin Warren says Bears ‘need a new home,' potentially ruling out Soldier Field's future

The Bears CEO/President destroys the possibility for the Bears to return to Solider Field in the future.

NBC Universal, Inc.

During the first week of June, Bears CEO/President Kevin Warren and newly elected Chicago mayor Brandon Johnson released a joint statement.

“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," the statement read. "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 raised eyebrows. It was released soon after the Bears declared Arlington Heights was no longer the organization's "singular focus" moving forward as it pertains to a new stadium.

Could the Bears be interested in remaining at Solider Field? Warren destroyed the thought of that possibility Monday.

"We do need a new home for the Chicago Bears,” Warren said Monday night during an invitation-only meeting at the Metropolis Performing Arts Center in Arlington Heights (H/t NBC 5’s Evrod Cassimy). “We have to figure out if Arlington Heights is legitimately a viable option or is it not. This has nothing to do with personal feelings. This is strictly business. And I just want to make sure that we're all on the same page and figure out if this is something that will work."

The Bears are at a stalemate with Arlington Heights, as Warren alluded. Both sides are unable come to an agreement on a fair property assessment, leading to a difference in annual tax value.

Officials from three local school districts – Palatine, Northwest Suburban High School District 214, and Palatine-Schaumburg District 211 – and the Cook County Assessor set the value of the Arlington Park property at $197 million, a massive increase from the $33 million assessment in 2021.

That marks the Bears' annual tax payment at $7.9 million, well more than they believe is a fair price to pay for the property. They see the property worth $33 million but recently compromised their assessment to $52 million.

However, Warren admitted Monday the Bears and Arlington Heights have endured a long stretch without communication. It's reason enough for Warren and the Bears to continue their search for a new stadium home.

But not at Soldier Field.

While the joint statement from Johnson and Warren was head-scratching, the Bears will not relegate to Soldier Field, as Warren indirectly mentioned. Unless, as one would believe, the city of Chicago and the park district would be willing to offer ownership to the Bears. Then Warren might turn around and walk back into the room.

If not, consider the Bears long gone. The question of where the next Bears home is located is still unanswered. But one place we know for a certainty they won't play long-term is Soldier Field.

Unfortunately, Soldier Field doesn't offer the Bears the business opportunities building their own stadium could give them. Yes, the location of Soldier Field on the city's lakefront is iconic and unmatched in professional sports venues. The fact of the matter is the Bears rent to play at Soldier Field. The Bears and the Packers are the only two teams in that boat.

A new stadium the Bears can call their own would open up innumerable doors for monetization. Naming rights, event hosting, parking, concessions, businesses in the surrounding area -- you name it. At Soldier Field, the Bears do not have the chance to monetize the venue properly.

So, while it gave Soldier Field fans hope to see Warren and Johnson discussing, it will inevitably amount to nothing in terms of a new stadium.

Warren and the Bears will undeniably land somewhere where they can build a new home, not rent one.

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