Bears CEO promotes lakefront domed stadium to Chicago business leaders

Chicago Bears CEO Kevin Warren is campaigning to sell the city’s business leaders on a new domed stadium on the lakefront.

Despite strong political opposition, Warren continued to push for the project on Tuesday, emphasizing its potential to revitalize the city’s economy.

"The Chicago Bears have shown we believe in Chicago," Warren said. "But we need businesses to lean into Chicago."

Warren delivered the keynote speech to the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, detailing the team’s proposal to build a $6 billion domed stadium just south of Soldier Field. He claimed the project would generate more than $8 billion in economic impact, including 43,000 construction jobs and 4,000 permanent jobs.

"It’s only so long we can lean on the fact we’re Chicago," Warren said. "We got to start coming together, doing big jobs, putting people to work."

Warren framed his argument as an economic one, noting a lack of construction activity in the city.

"Eight cranes in the air and I challenge you as you leave, look around Chicago and try to find those cranes," he said.

However, many political leaders at the Chamber luncheon argued that the Bears need to shoulder more of the financial burden for the stadium. Currently, the team has committed to funding about a third of the total cost.

"The public has lost its appetite for giving multi-billion dollar sports teams public funding," said 36th Ward Alderman Gilbert Villegas. "I don’t see any money coming from the City Council. And I think Mayor Brandon Johnson stepping out with the endorsement of the Bears while we’re negotiating has put us in a bad position."

Republican State Senator Seth Lewis of Carol Stream criticized the Bears’ recent trip to Springfield to request a stadium funding bill.

"They’re great at hype. They know how to promote something. But if they want to put a winning team on the football field, I don’t think they’re putting a winning proposal in Springfield yet," he said.

Despite owning land in Arlington Heights, Warren emphasized his focus on a lakefront stadium.

"It’s a process and I believe we’re moving forward," he said. "I trust our elected officials and I feel at some time we’ll get something worked out."