Emanuel mulls adding seats to Soldier Field to lure Super Bowl (also sell more hockey tickets, ha ha no really)

Such is the state of the hamster wheel that I was on the radio talking about this last night before I had a chance to write it up here, but anyway: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is “in the very preliminary stages of looking at” a 5,000-seat expansion of the Bears‘ Soldier Field, according to the Chicago Tribune. Cost? Who knows! Who’ll pay for it? Ditto! Why? To get the Super Bowl, of course:

Last month, the mayor told Tribune sports columnist David Haugh that Chicago could bid for the Super Bowl as early as 2019.

“The goal is to find a decision that moves the city forward. You don’t measure it that way. Would a Super Bowl be good for the city and good for the NFL? I think yes. Would having the NFL draft here be good for the city and for the NFL? The answer is yes. The goal is to have a discussion,” Emanuel said.

Chicago houses the NFL’s smallest stadium in terms of capacity. Soldier Field seats 61,500 — 8,500 shy of the NFL’s preferred minimum for a Super Bowl.

To be fair, Emanuel spokesperson Sarah Hamilton also said that the idea of adding more seats to Soldier Field was also motivated by a desire to get more revenue from concerts or outdoor NHL games — okay, no, wait, that’s just ridiculous, who on earth adds seats to a football stadium in order to make more money off of outdoor hockey? This is a Super Bowl grab, pure and simple.

Which is, as I’ve covered recently, just about the worst reason possible to spend a lot of money on stadium renovations, especially for a stadium that was just entirely rebuilt at a public cost of $432 million a decade ago. Though maybe in the course of adding seating, they could do something about Soldier Field being the ugliest piece of architecture on earth? Almost certainly not — more seats is only going to make it look more like a spaceship that crashed into a vintage stadium — but we’ve gotta grasp at silver linings where we can.


4 comments on “Emanuel mulls adding seats to Soldier Field to lure Super Bowl (also sell more hockey tickets, ha ha no really)

  1. Neil, and also note that apparently the Mayor has issues with math:
    Soldier Field currently contains 61,500 seats, and adding an additional 5,000 seats would bring seating capacity to 66,500…and that does not appear to add up to the 70,000 minimum the NFL prefers by my math…

  2. Not to mention the fact that they already designed a bizarre UFO style stadium that was shoehorned between the colonnades of “old Soldier Field,” not sure where they could shoehorn 5,000 more seats into the architectural nightmare that is the “new” Soldier Field.

  3. Well we knew he was a cub and detail fan. I guess he’s also a near fan. The bulls and hawks must be working on a wishlist. Sorry Whitesox and Chicago fire.

  4. I think he wants Chicago to land the “big events”, and with the failure to get the Olympics in Chicago or the World Cup in America, it’s pretty much the Super Bowl or bust. He wants that thing to brag about bringing to Chicago for years, and other than the NBA and NHL All-Star Game that’s all he can get (well, excluding maybe a huge UFC event or Wrestlemania, but that doesn’t have the same bragging power)

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