Report Says Bears Bid on Racetrack

A report in the Arlington Heights Daily Herald says the Chicago Bears are among those who have made official bids for the Arlington International Racecourse, which is schedule to close after this season.

The Bears have made a bid to acquire the Arlington International Racecourse according to a report in the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.

Team president and CEO Ted Phillips confirmed this in a comment submitted to the newspaper, as reported by Christopher Placek of the Herald.

"It's our obligation to explore every possible option to ensure we're doing what's best for our organization and its future," Phillips told the Herald. "If selected, this step allows us to further evaluate the property and its potential."

It's the first time the Bears have acknowledged being part of this potential sale of the 326-acre horse racing facility.  

In the past, the Bears had pursued possible moves to build a stadium in the area but none went very far.

The track is being sold by Churchill Downs Inc. and they took bids with a 5 p.m. June 15 deadline. The facility is located just off Route 53, at Euclid and Wilke Road in Arlington Heights.

The owners of the track operate a casino near O'Hare Airport and as a result are not likely to look well upon groups attempting to add a competing casino.

The Bears have been at Soldier Field or the new Soldier Field since 1971, after leaving Wrigley Field. They have a lease through 2033 for Soldier Field and reportedly pay $6.3 million a year to use the stadium, which has the smallest seating capacity in the NFL (61,500).

The new Soldier Field is a stadium constructed within the old outer wall of the old facility and the smaller seating capacity is partly the result of the odd configuration. The Bears have been playing at the new Soldier Field since 2003 and recently placed statues of running back Walter Payton and NFL founder/Bears owner George Halas in front of the stadium.

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