The Chicago Bears are off to a 4-1 start on the season, but could there be a time in the near future when the team’s fans will be allowed to catch some football action in person at Soldier Field?
At a Tuesday press conference, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot left the door open for just such a possibility, saying that her administration is having conversations with the team about allowing limited numbers of fans into the team’s remaining home games.
“Like any other Bears fan, I would like to be there,” she said. “We’re having conversations with the Bears and we’ll see where they lead. We’ll see.”
The debate over whether to allow fans into professional sports stadiums has ratcheted up in recent weeks, as some stadiums have begun to open their doors. In Major League Baseball, the National League Championship Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves is being contested in front of a limited number of fans at the home stadium of the Texas Rangers in Arlington.
In the NFL, multiple teams have begun to allow fans on a limited basis, including the Dallas Cowboys, Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns.
Teams like the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers and Seattle Seahawks are continuing to play without fans in their stadiums.
There are even teams looking at other potential options, including the New Orleans Saints, who are discussing playing home games at Louisiana State University’s campus in order to allow fans into the seats. Officials in the Big Easy have repeatedly rebuffed the team’s efforts to allow fans in the Superdome, and a trip to Baton Rouge may allow them to welcome fans into games, according to reports.
City officials will have some time to make their decision, as the Bears have two straight road games against the Carolina Panthers and Rams in the next two weeks. Their next home game isn’t scheduled until Nov. 1, when they’ll welcome the Saints to the shores of Lake Michigan.