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Opinion
Brian Chappatta

Why the Chicago Bears Are Tempted by My Village

A move to Arlington Heights, Illinois, could make the team among the world’s most valuable sports franchises.

Soldier Field has the NFL’s smallest seating capacity at just 61,500.

Soldier Field has the NFL’s smallest seating capacity at just 61,500.

Photographer: Quinn Harris/Getty Images

I’m from the Village of Arlington Heights, Illinois. I like to call it a village somewhat in jest — it’s a sprawling Chicago suburb of about 75,000 people that boasts, among other things, the nearly century-old Arlington International Racecourse.

That 326-acre site looks increasingly likely to be the future home of the Chicago Bears. Churchill Downs Inc. said this week that it had agreed to sell the property about 30 miles northwest of the city for $197.2 million to the National Football League franchise, with closing expected in late 2022 or early 2023. The Arlington Heights village board, for its part, has already approved zoning that would allow for construction of a football stadium.