Chicago Bears ink deal to officially purchase Arlington Racecourse property

The Chicago Bears’ bid to purchase the Arlington International Racecourse property in northwest suburban Arlington Heights has been accepted.

The team made the announcement Wednesday morning. The Bears submitted the bid to buy the land back in June.

"We are excited to have executed a Purchase and Sale Agreement (PSA) for the Arlington Park property," Bears President and CEO Ted Phillips said in a statement. "Much work remains to be completed, including working closely with the Village of Arlington Heights and surrounding communities, before we can close on this transaction. Our goal is to chart a path forward that allows our team to thrive on the field, Chicagoland to prosper from this endeavor, and the Bears organization to be ensured a strong future. We will never stop working toward delivering Bears fans the very best experience. We will continue to provide updates on our progress at the appropriate time."


Churchill Downs Incorporated announced that the sale price was $197.2 million.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot tweeted Tuesday night that they are adamant about keeping the Bears in Chicago.

The Bears, who have played at the lakefront stadium since 1971 after moving from Wrigley Field, have raised the possibility of moving over the years. One big factor is that the stadium, which is owned by the Chicago Park District, holds fewer fans — 61,500 — than any other stadium in the NFL.

Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes expressed his enthusiasm in a statement.

"I could not be more excited about the news that the Chicago Bears have signed a Purchase and Sale Agreement to buy the Arlington Park property in our community," said Hayes. "My goal for any redevelopment has always been to put this prime piece of real estate to its highest and best use, and I can’t think of a higher and better use than this one."

When the bid was placed three months ago, Mayor Lightfoot called the move a "negotiating tactic" and "noise."

"The Bears are locked into a lease at Soldier Field until 2033. In addition, the announcement from the Bears comes in the midst of negotiations for improvements at Soldier Field. This is clearly a negotiating tactic that the Bears have used before. As a season ticketholder and longtime Bears fan, I am committed to keeping the ‘Chicago’ name in our football team. And like most Bears fans, we want the organization to focus on putting a winning team on the field, beating the Packers finally and being relevant past October. Everything else is noise," Lightfoot had said in a statement.

If the Bears do move, they would be able to develop more than 300 acres around the stadium with dining, shopping and entertainment — something other teams such as the Los Angeles Rams, Los Angeles Charges and Las Vegas Raiders have done to add revenue.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

SPECIAL REPORT: Chicago Bears appear serious about moving to Arlington Heights