Skip to main content

Why Bears Should Weigh Move to Notre Dame for 2020

Indiana's recovery plan will have all events open by July 4 and Illinois' plan will keep Soldier Field closed to fans this year unless there is a vaccine or proven treatment for COVID-19

Cole Kmet is coming to Chicago to play for his hometown Chicago Bears but it's possible it could be better for the team if he plays at Notre Dame Stadium again next year.

The Bears aren't sending Kmet back to the school.

Rather, the entire Bears team should be considering a move 90 minutes from Soldier Field east to Notre Dame Stadium as a home field for this season.

According to Forbes, the Bears will lose $166 million in stadium revenue if they play at Soldier Field without fans this season. They'll have the 12th highest amount of revenue lost and the league as a whole would lose $5.5 billion.

The Bears currently pay $5.7 million a year for their lease at Soldier Field and this runs until 2033. This is a drop in the bucket and they could easily move the whole operation for this season to Indiana if they could negotiate a deal with Notre Dame to use the stadium for a season.

Why would they move to Indiana?

It's apparent they will not be able to play this season in Chicago in front of fans, unless Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker trashes the strict COVID-19 recovery plan he put into effect.

The plan will not allow gatherings of more than 50 people until there is a vaccine or a highly effective treatment widely available, or the elimination of any new cases over a sustained period. Then conventions, festivals and other large events can be held again.

However, in Indiana the plan is not as restrictive. The Hoosier state currently has plans to open up entirely by July 4. They're allowing gatherings of 100 people at the end of May and then expanding it afterward.

Read More

The Bears have their lease and would no doubt be charged with being in violation by the city of Chicago by taking the games elsewhere.

However, the circumstances of the pandemic and the way Illinois' plan has forced closure of sporting events could be used as grounds to circumvent this agreement, at least temporarily. Most likely it would be a matter courts would need to decide.

Pritzker's plan calls for the state's recovery zones to allow gatherings of 10 people starting May 29 and by the end of June some zones could reach the phase allowing 50 people to gather.

After 50 are allowed, there is no other recovery phase until the fifth phase which takes effect when there is a vaccine or proven way to treat the virus.

This week Pritzker yielded slightly and allowed restaurants to open outdoor eating areas while maintaining 6 feet of space between diners. They're going to allow indoor and outdoor tennis courts to open with restrictions and golf courses can now allow foursomes again, but only with one person per golf cart.

For the Bears to play before fans this fall will require Pritzker to ease his restrictions quite a bit, but at least he's shown a willingness to walk back some rules. 

Perhaps some successes can convince him to allow fans in Soldier Field.

If not, the golden dome beckons.

Twitter: BearDigest@BearsOnMaven