Jul 26, 2022 - Sports

Doubling down on Soldier Field

Rendering of a new football stadium.

A domed Soldier Field could be coming to the Museum Campus. Photo courtesy of Landmark Development

Mayor Lori Lightfoot is pulling out all the stops to keep the Bears at Soldier Field.

  • The mayor and planners presented three options to renovate the Chicago Park District-run stadium yesterday.

Why it matters: Losing the Bears to Arlington Heights, where they have expressed interest in moving, would have a significant economic impact on the city.

  • The proposed renovations could also create new recreation opportunities for millions of non-football fans the rest of the year.

What they're saying: Lightfoot said at the press conference that the city is doing "everything we can to persuade [the Bears] to stay. But should they choose to leave, we've got alternative scenarios."

  • "One way or another, we have to invest in Soldier Field."

Zoom in: The three new options for a "revitalized and reimagined" Soldier Field are:

  • A domed stadium built over and around the current Soldier Field.
  • An open-air, dome-ready stadium built around the current Soldier Field.
  • A multipurpose stadium that would host soccer matches and live events.

What's more: The proposals include redesigning the Museum Campus, including improvements to Northerly Island and the infrastructure surrounding DuSable Lake Shore Drive.

By the numbers: The price tag will vary based on which option is chosen and could be anywhere from $900 million to $2.2 billion.

  • But the city is still paying a loan on the 2003 renovation, which will be paid off in 2032.

Yes, but: Soldier Field remains the smallest stadium in the NFL. No dome will create the number of seats a new stadium can.

  • And the Bears haven't shown interest in returning to Soldier Field when the lease is up in 2033, telling the Daily Herald last month, "The only potential project the Chicago Bears are exploring for a new stadium development is Arlington Park."

💭 Justin's thought bubble: I'm excited to see the city think big. I'm not sure the Bears are listening, but who said it has to be the Bears? I'd cheer for the Chicago Jaguars.

💭 Monica's thought bubble: I like the idea of making the Museum Campus a cool place for Chicagoans to visit all year round. But I want to see the financials.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Chicago.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Chicago stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Chicago.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more