"I am a Bears fan. I want the Bears to stay in the city of Chicago. And we are willing to work with them to try to address their concerns. But I’ve got to do it in a way that is fiscally prudent and doesn’t preclude other uses in that stadium," Lightfoot told the Chicago Sun-Times.
Soldier Field, which is 97-years-old, is owned by the Chicago Park District.
The winds of a possible change began swirling back in June. That when the Bears shocked Chicago and their fans by announcing they had put in a bid to buy Arlington International Racecourse.
Lightfoot fired back saying the Bears are locked into the Soldier Field lease with the city until 2033. She went on to call their bid a "negotiating tactic" and "noise."
"I know from my discussions at the league, this is not a bluff," said Marc Ganis. "The Bears are very serious."
Ganis is the head of Sportscorp — a Chicago based sports consulting firm. Ganis has been in the business for decades and has worked on stadium projects for several NFL teams, including the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Oakland Raiders.
"The contract that the Bears and the park district signed does provide for the Bears to be able to relocate out of Soldier Field," Ganis said. "They refer to it as an improper relocation in the lease … and there is a provision of liquidated damages that would be paid to the park district for an improper relocation."
Since it takes at least five years to build a new NFL stadium, the earliest the Bears could "improperly relocate" to Arlington is in 2026. At that time, experts estimate the team would have to pay $85 million in liquidated damages.