The Chicago Bears have made it clear they are considering leaving Soldier Field and moving to Arlington Heights as their future home stadium. But if talks between the Bears and Arlington Heights hit a snag, Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk wants the NFL franchise to consider moving to Joliet, the seat of Will County.

Besides, Joliet already has a massive parcel of land ready to entertain tens of thousands of Chicago Bears fans. In recent weeks, O’Dekirk reached out to Chicago Bears Chairman George McCaskey suggesting the Bears consider Joliet as their future home.

“Joliet would like to enthusiastically express their interest in becoming the new home of the Chicago Bears by way of repurposing the Chicagoland Speedway,” O’Dekirk wrote McCaskey.

O’Dekirk’s letter informed McCaskey that “The Chicagoland Speedway is a 1.5-mile tri-oval speedway occupying approximately 600 acres in the southwest corner of Joliet. It opened in 2001 and enjoyed many successful and busy seasons until it was removed from NASCAR’s rotation in 2019. At the height of the sport, Joliet successfully managed upwards of 150,000 visitors during prime season events.”

On Tuesday, O’Dekirk told Joliet Patch that Bears President and CEO Ted Phillips responded to Joliet’s offer regarding the Chicagoland Speedway by thanking Joliet for reaching out.

According to the mayor, Phillips did not indicate the Chicago Bears were ready to meet with Joliet officials right now.

The mayor said it’s his belief that the Chicago Bears’ main focus remains in ongoing conversations with Arlington Heights officials.


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