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  • Writer's pictureJoe Koch

Chicago Preparing for New Stadiums for Bears, White Sox, and Northwestern Football

How stadium development plans will economically impact the city

By: Joe Koch

March 26, 2024

Photo Credit: NBC Chicago

Home of the third biggest sports market, Chicago is in sight of updates for sporting venues for some of their biggest franchises. The Bears and White Sox, current tenants of Soldier Field and Guaranteed Rate Field, respectively, have both been in need of new stadiums. 

For the Bears, Soldier Field has been their home for 100 years, opening in 1924. Renovations have been made, but the organization sees the stadium lacking features in comparison to other NFL stadiums. The Bears are looking to add a domed stadium on the lakefront close to their current venue to maintain parking lots and nearby restaurants and entertainment. Bears President and CEO, Kevin Warren, stated in an interview with NBC Chicago that the Bears were “committed to contributing over $2 billion to build a stadium and improve open spaces for all families, fans and the general public to enjoy in the City of Chicago”.

The White Sox are in a similar situation, being tenants at Guaranteed Rate Field since 1991, the 8th oldest stadium in the MLB. The team has looked into a potential change as there are six years left on their contract at the current ballpark. Relocation to a new city has been up in the air, but the White Sox intend to stay in Chicago, moving to the South Loop of downtown Chicago.

Northwestern, located in nearby Evanston, is also renovating their current football stadium. The stadium won’t be finished until 2026 with the football team having home games at multiple locations throughout Chicago until then. However, with the Cubs, White Sox, Bears, and MLS team, Chicago Fire, all having games in early September and October, Northwestern is having a hard time finding locations to play. 

It is still early to tell how all the future stadium plans will impact the city, but more jobs, restaurants, and other engagements will all rise due to new stadiums being built. Financially, the venues are planning on being built through a mix between private and public investments. Owners and teams investing will cover most of the initial costs as well as both hospitality taxes and commercial taxes from the local community. Chicago is ready for a new era in sports and is closing in within the near future. 


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