Chicago alderman calls on city to buy Bears, keep them at Soldier Field, but would the team bite?

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Could the city of Chicago buy the Bears to keep them from moving to Arlington Heights?

Alderman George Cardenas introduced an ordinance for the city to purchase the team and sell shares to fans Wednesday.

"People love this city," Cardenas said. "People love the Bears, and people love sports in general. And why not give people a chance to weigh in on that conversation?"

The Bears announced at the end of September they had signed a Purchase and Sale Agreement for the entire Arlington Park land parcel in the village of Arlington Heights, which previously housed the Arlington Race Course.
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Cardenas believes using crowdsourcing and other means, the city could buy the Bears and keep them from moving from Soldier Field. But the idea, introduced in City Council Wednesday is already playing from behind.

"No, it's not feasible," said 32nd Ward Alderman Scott Waguspack, who is also chair of the city's finance committee. "I don't think the city, first of all, can afford it. I don' think there's a taste of the taxpayers to buy the team and move forward on something like that."

Even more far-fetched than the idea of the city buying the bears may be the notion that the McCaskey family would even be interested in selling.

"The Bears might be a little bit flattered, a little bit amused, but I just don't see this as a serious option for them," said Fred Mitchell, sports writer.

"It is not completely out of the possibility," Cardenas countered. "And if you don't really talk about it, nothing's going to happen."

The sale is not yet a done deal, and Arlington Heights' village president told the board in early October that he had not yet received any details about the team's plans. He also said it'd be one to two years before any work would begin on building a new stadium.

Ald. Cardenas' proposal is similar to how the Green Bay Packers are structured.

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The Bears' lease at Soldier Field runs until 2033, meaning the team would have to pay $84 million to the city to break it. The mayor said she has no plans to let the football team out of their lease just because they are unhappy with it, but she also said the Bears have never said what they want from the city in order to stay.

The mayor said she supports the idea of a feasibility study.

"The bottom line is this: We're going to continue to do our work to try to keep the Bears in the city of Chicago, but it's got to be a deal," Mayor Lightfoot said. "That makes sense, not just for the Bears but for the taxpayers."

The proposal got sent to the rules committee Wednesday, meaning it could already be game over.
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