Chicago Bears fans need to stop the outrageous outcry about the stadium

It appears that the Bears' attempt to develop land in Arlington Heights and move the stadium out of the city is coming to a close. Today, the Chicago Bears are announcing their plans for a publicly-owned stadium, and fans and local analysts are outrageously upset despite this one key fact being the norm.
Chicago Bears, Soldier Field
Chicago Bears, Soldier Field / Quinn Harris/GettyImages

If you want up-to-date stadium information, then you came to the right place. I have a unique understanding of the property tax situation that is going on in Arlington Heights that no other journalist or blogger seems to grasp. That's not the point here though. Instead, let's look at the outrageous outcry by Chicago Bears fans and local analysts about the fact that the newly proposed stadium plans will be publicly owned.

If you are on social media or you listen to local sports talk radio stations like 670 The Score and ESPN Chicago, then by now you have heard someone complain about the idea that the Bears are now unlikely to build a stadium in Arlington Heights but instead will look to build a new stadium in Chicago. In fact, the new stadium being proposed will likely be just south of the current Soldier Field. More details are expected to be released today at Noon.

Who is to blame if a stadium in Arlington Heights doesn't happen?

Look, I have been saying this for months now. If you are mad about the Chicago Bears not building a stadium in Arlington Heights, you need to stop trying to blame the McCaskeys and the Bears organization. Do they hold some of the blame in this situation? Yes. However, it is such a small amount. Where the Bears went wrong was underestimating the Cook County Assessor.

A proper tax estimate of the Arlington Heights property should have included a worst-case scenario that Fritz Kaegi would unethically chase a reported purchase agreement that had not closed before the lien date, however, the probable outcome should have been much lower than that number. If we are going to assign blame, one needs to look at the Assessor's office and the Arlington Heights school boards that swarmed like sharks at the smell of blood (money) in the water.

A quick glance at the property tax implications shows that prior to the sale, the property was valued at $33 million with a property tax implication of just over $2 million. After the proposed sale became public, that value shot up to $197 million (before appeals) and the taxes owed annually were to be over $13 million. The stadium would have taken close to five years to build and the development around the stadium would have taken even longer. The McCaskeys don't have the money to pay millions each year while the new property brings in a negative operating income. More details.

Outrage over a publicly-owned Chicago Bears stadium is unwarranted

Now, it appears that many fans and local sports personalities/analysts are up in arms about the fact that the Chicago Bears will not own their own stadium. Here's the thing. Most NFL stadiums are publicly owned. Fans and analysts are upset about what could have been and what should have been versus the reality of the situation. The reality of the situation is that Arlington Heights (the school districts mostly) and the Cook County Assessor screwed this deal up and now the Bears are pivoting to a publicly-owned stadium that will be tax-exempt and cost the Bears $0 in property taxes.

Again, the point here is that this is how most NFL teams operate. The outcry isn't because of taxpayer money being involved, the outcry was that the Bears are dumb for not owning their own stadium and earning 100% of the revenue for non-football events.

Out of the 32 NFL teams, only five teams own their own stadiums. Since the Chargers share the stadium with the Rams and Rams owner Stan Kroenke controls the third party that owns SoFi, it's basically a partnership and shared interest. The other four teams that own their stadiums include the Dolphins, Commanders, Patriots, and Panthers. Let's look at that one more time.

5 Stadiums are not publicly-owned in the NFL


This equates to 16% of the league. That's it. 16% of the league owns their stadium. It would have been great for the Chicago Bears to own their stadium and also build a campus similar to SoFi in California. However, SoFi was given plenty of tax breaks while the Bears have been fighting for a fair shake regarding the Arlington Heights property. Not to mention, Stan Kroenke has more liquidity and is worth more than the McCaskeys.

With this information, hopefully, Chicago Bears fans and others relax when it comes to being upset about the team not owning their stadium. However, now that the Chicago Tribune has leaked some of the details from today's press conference about the plans for a new stadium, fans can turn their attention to something that could directly affect them - paying for a portion of the new stadium.

That's right. The $2 billion stadium has now somehow turned into a $3.2 billion stadium with an additional $1.2 billion needed for infrastructure and refinancing existing debt for the current Soldier Field and also Guaranteed Rate Field (home of the White Sox). That deserves some public outcry seeing the stadium should not be costing $3.2 billion. That would make the stadium the second-most expensive stadium behind SoFi stadium (a stadium campus) and $1.3 billion more than Allegiant Field — the most recent stadium built (Raiders in Las Vegas).

Why? Why does it need to be that expensive?

I guess we will find out soon enough.

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