Lightfoot on Ted Phillips retiring, how it affects stadium plans

The city of Chicago has provided multiple attempts to keep the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. 

But, in light of Bears President/CEO Ted Phillips announcing his retirement, it could throw a wrench into the city’s plans. 

How will his retirement change the dynamic of the discussions between the city and the Bears?

“I don’t think it changes at all,” Lightfoot said. “As I said, months ago, we were going to make a very compelling case for them to stay in the city of Chicago and I think that we’ve done that, and we’re going to continue our discussions. We’re going to continue our discussions with the league. But as you know, I’m somebody who likes to plan, so we’ve got plan B, plan C and others in the works as well.”

Phillips is in the driver’s seat for the Bears’ new stadium project. He led the Soldier Field reconstruction back in 2003 too, which he claims to be one of the biggest accomplishments of his career.

However, he recently announced he will retire at the end of the 2022 season. It’s possible he could remain with the organization as a consultant for the stadium, but it’s unknown how he will fare with the organization once February comes. 

The Bears are relocating to Arlington Park, where they purchased the rights to close on the land for a new stadium back in September of 2021.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot has created a three-prong plan to persuade the Bears to stay put — including an idea to construct a dome over Soldier Field. Unfortunately for the city, the Bears have announced multiple times their intention to move forward with moving into Arlington Park. 

“While under contract with the seller of Arlington Park, we will not be discussing or exploring any other alternative stadium sites or opportunities, including renovations of Soldier Field,” the Bears said in a letter about Arlington Park.

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