Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is not amused with the Bears’ decision to bid for the up-for-sale Arlington International Racecourse in Arlington Heights.
In a statement released Thursday, Lightfoot called the move “a negotiating tactic that the Bears have used before.” The mayor, who is also a Bears season ticket holder, told the team to “focus on putting a winning team on the field, beating the Packers finally and being relevant past October.”
“Everything else is noise,” Lightfoot said in the statement.
The Bears announced their intention to bid for the 326-acre location in Arlington Heights earlier in the day Thursday. Lightfoot said the Bears released the news while in the midst of negotiating for improvements for Soldier Field.
The Bears have played their home games at Soldier Field on the Lake Michigan lakefront since 1971. This is far from the first time the team has threatened to move to the suburbs. The team’s current lease with the Chicago Park District, which oversees Soldier Field, runs through 2033.
“Our city is home to some of the world’s finest sports teams who have played a vital role in the city’s re-opening,” Lightfoot said. “As part of the city’s recovery, many organizations are doubling down on their commitment to Chicago, and we expect the Chicago Bears to follow suit.”