Will The State Of Illinois Ever Host A Super Bowl? It All Depends On Arlington

Written By Joe Boozell on December 28, 2021

The state of Illinois — and the city of Chicago — have never hosted a Super Bowl. And with this season’s version of the Big Game approaching, it begs the question: Will the Super Bowl ever come to the Land of Lincoln?

For the first time in years, it seems like a real possibility.

The Chicago Bears earlier this year signed a purchase agreement for Arlington International Racecourse. If completed, the Bears would move out of Soldier Field in favor of Arlington Heights.

While moving out of Chicago could rub some fans the wrong way, it’s hard not to get excited about the possibilities at Arlington Park.

If the Bears move, the franchise could build a stadium in the mold of Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, SoFi stadium in Inglewood, U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, etc.

And most importantly, that stadium could have a retractable roof. The primary reason Illinois has never hosted a Super Bowl? It’s quite cold!

The Bears would pay $197.2 million for the land, and they’d likely have to shell out another $84 million to break their Soldier Field lease.

Provided they do, the state of Illinois could host a Super Bowl in the next decade. As it stands, that is more likely to happen than the Bears participating in a Super Bowl in the next decade.

Where will the Super Bowl be played in 2022 and beyond?

Super Bowl LVI will take place on Feb. 13 at SoFi Stadium.

The Bears won’t be playing in this year’s game, but there’s a decent chance their archrival might. Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers are running away with the NFC North, and they have all the makings of a Super Bowl contender.

Beyond 2022, we know of the next three Super Bowl locations. Here’s where they will be.

  • 2023: State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
  • 2024: Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • 2025: Caesars Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana

What do all of those stadiums have in common? They all have indoor capability. If the Bears move to Arlington Heights, ‘Bear weather’ may become a thing of the past.

But it’s easy to see what the state would be gaining.

Super Bowl betting a hit last year in Illinois

In 2021, Super Bowl betting was legal in Illinois for the first time. And Illinoisans were eager to put action on it.

Unfortunately, several sportsbooks experienced technical difficulties on Super Bowl Sunday. Still, the state reported $45.6 million in bets on the game.

That resulted in $1.1 million in tax revenue for Illinois and $7.7 million in revenue for sportsbook operators. It was a very good day for the books, as the public was mostly on the losing Kansas City Chiefs.

While Super Bowl wagering was a hit in Illinois in 2021, the numbers should be even gaudier in 2022.

IL has shown serious year-over-year growth signs in terms of sports betting handle. From October 2020 to October 2021, handle nearly doubled.

With all of that said, there is one key (and very unfortunate) difference between this year and last: There will not be online registration on Super Bowl Sunday.

Illinois likely has in-person registration until March 5, 2022. Typically, Super Bowl Sunday is a major registration day for sportsbooks.

Alas, we won’t have to worry about any of that this time next year. And in 10 years, perhaps Illinoisans will be able to watch a Super Bowl in person in their home state.

Photo by AP Photo/John Smierciak
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Joe Boozell

Joe Boozell has also been a college sports writer for NCAA.com since 2015. His work has also appeared in Bleacher Report, FoxSports.com and NBA.com. Growing up, Boozell squared off against both Anthony Davis and Frank Kaminsky in the Chicagoland basketball scene ... you can imagine how that went.

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