Chicago Mayor Makes Strong Statement About City Getting 2nd NFL Team

Lori Lightfoot

Getty Chicago mayoral Lori Lightfoot says adding a second NFL team is a definite possibility.

Lori Lightfoot is not ready to go gentle into that good night when it comes to putting a dome on Soldier Field.

The location of home games for the Chicago Bears since 1971, the stadium was designed in 1919, and it officially opened in 1924. But the Bears have made their intentions known after buying the Arlington Heights racetrack property in Arlington Heights, Illinois: They want to build a new, larger, more high-tech stadium 40 minutes away from the city.

Now, it appears as though Chicago’s current mayor is intent on trying to entice the Bears to stay in the city — but if they don’t want to stay, the mayor says adding another NFL franchise is a definite option.

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Bears Have Made It Clear They Have Zero Interest in a Dome at Soldier Field

Crain’s Chicago Business reported on July 5 that Mayor Lightfoot was planning on putting a dome on Soldier Field, in addition to adding many amenities to the legendary stadium, including more seating and the incorporation of augmented reality and virtual reality programming.

In response to Lightfoot’s dome proposal, the Bears made their thoughts on the matter known.

“The only potential project the Chicago Bears are exploring for a new stadium development is Arlington Park,” the team said in a statement, via Chris Placek of The Daily Herald.

“As part of our mutual agreement with the seller of that property, we are not pursuing alternative stadium deals or sites, including renovations to Soldier Field, while we are under contract,” the team added in the statement.

Not to be deterred, Lightfoot is moving forward with the idea of updating and modernizing Soldier Field, whether the Bears are interested or not.

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Lightfoot: Several Cities Have 2 NFL Teams

Despite noting she’d like them to stay in the city, the mayor seems ready to accept the idea the Bears are moving on.

“Obviously, we look at lots of different scenarios,” Lightfoot said, per Sean Hammond of Shaw Local Media. “I don’t want to get ahead and talk about specifics, but clearly we have thought about the possibility of the Bears leaving, but I feel confident that will not have a negative economic impact on the city or the utilization of Soldier Field.”

When asked if getting another franchise in the Windy City was possible, Lightfoot didn’t hesitate.

“I can see that as an option, yes,” Lightfoot responded, also noting there are “plenty of cities that have two NFL teams.”

There are currently two cities that are home to multiple NFL franchises: New York (Giants, Jets) and Los Angeles (Rams, Chargers). While it feels like only a matter of time before Chicago adds a second NFL team, that time could be in the distant future.

There has been talk of the league eventually expanding, with Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio going so far as to suggest the NFL could expand to up to 40 teams. While that seems excessive, it’s clear Chicago is a potential front-runner to add another franchise when that time comes.

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