On Wednesday, John Ferak of The Patch reported that the Chicago Bears have received an offer from the city of Joliet for a new stadium. Yes, you read that correctly. The city of Joliet has offered the Bears a new home if their possible deal involving Arlington International Racecourse falls through.
In June, the Bears placed a bid on the land formerly home to the Chicagoland area's popular racetrack. However, with the sport of horse racing on the decline, the land is for sale. The Bears saw that as a golden opportunity for a larger and more modern stadium. Although they've placed a bid, nothing is set in stone for the franchise.
In the meantime, the city of Joliet proposed an interesting offer. Although the Bears would have 326 acres to work with in northwest suburb Arlington Heights, the Bears could have 600 acres if they move to Joliet. Why? Well, the city has an abandoned speedway that sits on that plot of land.
In 2019, NASCAR removed Chicagoland Speedway from their schedule. At the height of the racetrack's lifetime, the land hosted upwards of 150,000 fans during the prime event season. That amount of land could not only house a massive, beautiful NFL stadium, but could also allow the Bears to create the largest stadium in the NFL.
According to the initial report, it's uncertain if the Bears are truly interested in housing their stadium in Joliet. However, if they decided to, the city is used to the type of crowds the Bears would draw due to housing NASCAR events for nearly 20 years.
Not only would the city of Joliet gain massive revenues becoming the new home of the NFL's oldest franchise, but they would also find a purpose for their now abandoned racetrack.
It's very early, but this could be an interesting development if the Bears put any level of consideration into the old Chicagoland Speedway location.