Three months ago, the Bears publicly announced their bid for the Arlington International Racecourse property.
While there’s been talk over the years about possible relocation, emails obtained by WBEZ show a larger rift between team leadership and the Chicago Park District, which owns Soldier Field.
“It’s clear that the two organizations have no love lost between them,” said WBEZ reporter Tony Arnold, who obtained the emails.
Park Superintendent Michael Kelly accused the Bears president of a “propensity for historical misstatements,” WBEZ reported.
Bears president and CEO Ted Phillips accused the Park District of refusing “to engage in good faith discussions” about expanding sports betting opportunities at the stadium, WBEZ reported.
Sports betting is an important revenue stream for teams, but it isn’t dispositive on whether the team would relocate, said Marc Ganis, president of sports business consulting firm Sportscorp Ltd. He is a sports facility specialist and worked on the sale of the Cubs from the Tribune Company to the Ricketts family among other projects.
Ganis said if there was a solution to keep the team on a long-term basis, it would entail a new stadium, but that entails political and land use challenges within the city limits.
WTTW News reached out to the Bears for comment, but they declined. The Chicago Park District did not respond to a request for comment.