Just as fans began to accept the idea of relocating the Bears to Chicago suburb Arlington Heights, the deal is now shakier than ever.
Last Friday, another city entered the mix as Naperville prepared to make a pitch for housing the new stadium. 

The Bears bought the Arlington Heights property for $197.2 million in February. Now, citing an enormously high property assessment, team representatives say the area is “no longer our singular focus.”

Since news first broke of the relocation, both the potential sites and key decision-makers have changed. 

Both experts and fans criticized former Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot for offering insincere and tone-deaf attempts at keeping the team within city limits. Lightfoot lost her reelection bid, and Mayor-Elect Brandon Johnson is preparing to take over. 

Illinois State Rep. Kam Buckner, a member of Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson’s transition team, told WTTW that he believes Chicago is back in play.

There have also been changes within the Bears’ organization. Long-time President Ted Philips resigned, and the team hired former Big Ten Conference Commissioner Kevin Warren. 

Phillips claimed the stadium would be enclosed and not feature a retractable roof, but Warren, already known for keeping tradition and fans in mind, may think differently. 

However,  Warren helped usher in the Vikings’ U.S. Bank Stadium, which opened in 2016 and features a glass roof.

Based on comments from January 2023, he may carry over some ideas from that project. 

“I remember when we finished the stadium, I had all these boxes of binders. Many people said, ‘You’ll never use those again; you can get rid of those,’ but I’m glad I saved them. The biggest thing I learned is you need to plan before you start digging. What makes U.S. Bank so special is we spent almost a year in planning, and planning is critical,” Warren said.    

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