Chicago Bears

The Hammond Bears? Indiana bill aims to help bring in sports team

Could the Bears cross state lines?

NBC Universal, Inc.

Ever since the Bears bought Arlington Park, there’s been endless talk about the possibility of the Bears moving to a new town. But what about a new state entirely? That’s what lawmakers in Indiana want to explore.

A bill was introduced into the Indiana General Assembly earlier this month that would establish a professional sports commission for northwest Indiana. The bill was authored by representative Earl Harris and does not specifically mention trying to attract the Bears over the border, but Harris mentioned the team by name in a story published by Indianapolis news outlet FOX 59.

“With the Chicago Bears looking into options for a new location, this legislation will help make Northwest Indiana a more attractive option for them and other sports teams,” Harris said via FOX 59.

The bill aims to create a commission that would be charged with conducting studies, creating plans and starting a fund to potentially bring a professional sports team to northwest Indiana.

The Bears bought Arlington Park last year for nearly $200 million, and it makes most sense for the Bears to build a new stadium somewhere on the 326 acres they now own in the Chicago suburbs. But property tax negotiations have slowed progress on the potential stadium plan.

While the team negotiates property tax in Arlington Heights, Chicago mayor Brandon Johnson has met with Bears president/CEO Kevin Warren to discuss options to keep the team in the city. Other suburbs like Naperville, Waukegan and Aurora have thrown their name in the ring. Harris says Indiana has one benefit over all those places, however.

“Things are much cheaper on our side of the state line.”

Warren has said the team needs to make financially prudent decisions as they determine where their next home will be, but taking the Bears over the border feels like a long shot.

As the process drags on however, we’re left to debate things like which team name sounds best: The Gary Bears, Hammond Bears, or Merrillville Bears?

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