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Seeking a Super Bowl, Chicago may add 5,000 seats to Soldier Field

This photo shows a view of the newly ren Getty Images

Chicago wants to show it’s serious about being the next cold city to host an outdoor Super Bowl, and so the city is exploring its options for making Soldier Field bigger.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who strongly supports a Chicago Super Bowl, is working with the Chicago Park District, which operates Soldier Field, to explore the possibility of a 5,000-seat expansion.

It’s an exploration to see what, if anything, is possible,” Emanuel spokeswoman Sarah Hamilton told the Chicago Tribune.

Soldier Field currently fits just 61,500 fans for Bears games, and the NFL prefers stadiums with at least 70,000 seats for the Super Bowl. Even a 5,000-seat expansion would make Soldier Field the smallest stadium to host a Super Bowl since 1992, when 63,130 fans attended Super Bowl XXVI at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.

And even if Soldier Field’s seating capacity increases, that doesn’t mean the NFL’s owners will vote to take the Super Bowl to Chicago. The league is open to cold-weather Super Bowls, but Chicago has colder, snowier winters than New York, so the weather may be an even greater concern for a Chicago Super Bowl than it was this year.

Still, Emanuel seems serious about attracting a Super Bowl to Chicago. A Soldier Field expansion would be a step toward getting it.

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52 Responses to “Seeking a Super Bowl, Chicago may add 5,000 seats to Soldier Field”
  1. hutch119 says: Mar 5, 2014 12:50 PM

    Are they going to put turf in to because that grass is an embarrassment.

  2. ez4u2sa says: Mar 5, 2014 12:51 PM

    I don’t think this will make a difference. Even if it does, A Chicago Super Bowl is a long way off.

  3. redbirdsrising says: Mar 5, 2014 12:53 PM

    Yes, because we all want to watch a super bowl on a brown field.

  4. denverdude7 says: Mar 5, 2014 12:54 PM

    Not to mention 5000 more Personal Seat Licenses and season ticket packages to sell. All to see an overpaid whining, sniveling, brat of a quarterback to boot.

  5. imbetteratlifethanyou says: Mar 5, 2014 12:54 PM

    Sweet! Yet another place to host a Super Bowl where the vikings will NEVER play in.

    10 loss seasons continue for that pathetic franchise.

  6. doctorrustbelt says: Mar 5, 2014 12:55 PM

    It’s time to have a Midwest Super Bowl at one of the publicly funded NFL stadiums.

  7. dobe420 says: Mar 5, 2014 12:55 PM

    It sure is hutch119 is sure is. It’s way past due to replace that &$@? they are passing off as grass.

  8. grndizzle says: Mar 5, 2014 12:56 PM

    I don’t think the NFL will play a SB there. Chicago winters are a lot colder than NY winters.

  9. wickedfootball says: Mar 5, 2014 12:58 PM

    Historic status is gone. Why not build a stadium deserving of the city?

  10. ✦ Pittsburgh is the City of Champions ✦ says: Mar 5, 2014 12:59 PM

    Build a new stadium.

  11. doctormantistoboggan says: Mar 5, 2014 12:59 PM

    If Chicago agrees to never mention the ’85 Bears or Ditka publicly again, they should be awarded the Super Bowl. Seems fair to me – no team (except for the ’72 Dolphins) lives more in the past than those guys.

  12. nextmanup81 says: Mar 5, 2014 12:59 PM

    As a Chicago resident I’d say that perhaps the mayor should look into fixing the 5,000 potholes the city has first. If the stadium is owned by the Park District, which is funded with taxpayer money, then I think we’ve got some bigger fish to fry here.

  13. 4allintensivepurposes says: Mar 5, 2014 1:00 PM

    As a fan of dirt fields, I say it’s a great place to play the big game.

  14. earpaniac says: Mar 5, 2014 1:00 PM

    I can’t imagine it happening. We had -50 wc several days this year.

  15. fishyinalittledishy says: Mar 5, 2014 1:01 PM

    The NFL got away with one this year, next time could be a disaster. At the end of the day its not really that much fun freezing your gonads off in the stands or on the field.

  16. bmore44 says: Mar 5, 2014 1:02 PM

    Not going to happen !

  17. grantsbuds says: Mar 5, 2014 1:02 PM

    First, what will the aliens think of the makeover to Soldier Field?

    Second, SBs should be played on grass not what the Chicago Park District deems grass.

  18. britishteeth says: Mar 5, 2014 1:04 PM

    That’s 5,000 more people witnessing Shea McClellin run himself 7 yards past the ballcarrier.

  19. thevikesarebest says: Mar 5, 2014 1:05 PM

    Awwe that’s very nice of Chicago.they can watch us win the NFC north and they can host a SB for us to win in their stadium.SKOL

  20. kneelbeforesod says: Mar 5, 2014 1:06 PM

    Adding 5,000 seats to a decrepit old stadium in the middle of a (probable) brutal winter?

    What could possibly go wrong?

  21. bennyb82 says: Mar 5, 2014 1:07 PM

    In addition to adding seats, the mayor also indicated that they would be open to spray painting the field green so that it looks like turf.

  22. FreewayJim says: Mar 5, 2014 1:07 PM

    When they renovated Soldier Field I was shocked that the capacity was only 61,000, One would think a great sports city like Chicago could sell out a 75-80,ooo seat stadium with ease.

  23. officialgame says: Mar 5, 2014 1:09 PM

    I love Chicago, it’s a beautiful city with great food and clubs.
    In the summer.
    When it’s nice.

  24. boondocksaint224 says: Mar 5, 2014 1:12 PM

    The hypocrisy, of posting how the NHL got the outside snow game the NFL wanted for the Super Bowl, then turning around and posting how the NFL doesn’t want to deal with the snow for the Super Bowl just four days later, is thicker than molasses.

  25. thraiderskin says: Mar 5, 2014 1:15 PM

    Its Chicago… couldn’t they just send tax payer money to the NFL and buy a Superbowl… its what they do in their politics.

  26. babyfarkmcgeezax says: Mar 5, 2014 1:21 PM

    They won’t need to add additional seats. The Vikings dynasty will be so dominant in the upcoming years that the NFL will struggle to attract fans to attend such uncompetitive Super Bowls where the Vikings just destroy their opponents into submission within 5 minutes of the opening kickoff. Sure, Goodell could just have the AFC Pro Bowlers play the Vikings and he could even give the AFC Pro Bowlers full access to the Seahawks’ bottomless supply of PEDs and the speakers they use to pump in artificial crowd noise in Seattle, but the Vikings would still have the game wrapped up before halftime. It will be hard to attract fans to guaranteed blowouts.

  27. Frazier28/7 says: Mar 5, 2014 1:24 PM

    God leaned over to admire the Chicago Bears and when he shatted was came out was the green bay packers.

  28. rajbais says: Mar 5, 2014 1:25 PM

    Why is everyone adding seats to an event that people watch at home more often than ever before?

    Who cares about seat quantity for a once in a blue moon event!!!!!

    It’s not as if there are other ways to make money in the Super Bowl other than tickets.

  29. bearsfan4life says: Mar 5, 2014 1:25 PM

    Well I guess if you’re selling your kids’ future into perpetual debt service, whats a few more hundred million.
    Plus how cool would it be to see the entire 400 level and the Caddilac club seats empty after the extended half time because there aren’t enough bathrooms in the stadium.

  30. schmitty2 says: Mar 5, 2014 1:25 PM

    If the city of Chicago can somehow change the winters they get every year then maybe….just maybe they might have a shot.

  31. beardinals says: Mar 5, 2014 1:27 PM

    There is no better place than downtown Chicago to host a Super Bowl……… If it were in May.

  32. paepae805 says: Mar 5, 2014 1:27 PM

    Chicago is the armpit of the midwest for a reason. What other city would renovate a stadium and lower the capacity for an NFL franchise. Chicago has the 2nd largest population base in the NFL but the smallest stadium. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that one out. SMH at the brass with the Bears and the Park District. If they would of done the renovation right 10-12 years ago, they wouldn’t have this issue now. But why would they want to do it the easy way. They did sign Cutler to an extension that made the rest of the NFC North ecstatic for years to come

  33. boiler72 says: Mar 5, 2014 1:29 PM

    That would be a home game for the Packers, who have lost, what, like, three times there since 1992? Two Hall of Fame QB’s will do that, lol.

  34. overratedsteelerhater says: Mar 5, 2014 1:30 PM

    your going to need a new stadium for a chance at that.5000 seats not happening,the cold weather games are probably gone anyway.

  35. bucketman9 says: Mar 5, 2014 1:30 PM

    Now 5,000 more fans can go home depressed when Green Bay ruins their season again

  36. bnwpnw says: Mar 5, 2014 1:33 PM

    They also need to add some bathrooms, decent coffee, and a building design that doesn’t look like an Ikea crashed into the Parthenon.

  37. andreweac says: Mar 5, 2014 1:55 PM

    So the mayor would rather focus on corporate welfare for billionaires and a dog/pony show that deal with a city that is teetering on bankruptcy? I guess that makes sense since he can’t declare war in Gary, Indiana as a distraction.

  38. chrisk61 says: Mar 5, 2014 1:55 PM

    next cold weather super bowl — and there will be another in next 5 years or so — will be either philly or chicago. new eng and wash have suburban stadiums that are unattractive for such a big event, so they aren’t on the short list. and many other cities like green bay are simply too small ie not enough hotel rooms.

  39. tformation says: Mar 5, 2014 2:05 PM

    Bears fan here. No way this is happening. Nor should it without a dome.

    Keep dreaming, Rahm.

  40. allidoiswin55 says: Mar 5, 2014 2:22 PM

    Stupid for sure snow . The only northern city who should host and can support the superbowl without it having terribly weather and being able to support that much traffic into the city is Seattle . Despite what many fools don’t know is that it almost NEVER SNOWS IN SEATTLE especially more than two or three inches if it even snows to begin with . Seattles weather is fairly consistent overcast and drizzle on and off bc or the mountain range . But Seattle would be an amazing place to host a superbowl it would on of the most beautiful landscapes the Super Bowl has had .Easy to see Seattle hosting it ,only negative from southern states is it could be cold like 36 degrees but most likely warmer than that bc that’s as cold as it gets .

    I love Chicago and the city as a whole I’ve visited atleast 15 times and like the history and sports relevancy . Chicago also has one of the best downtowns in summer with the beach and same . Really awesome but honestly it would snow for sure. And if not would be teen digits or less . Traffic would suck . The Super Bowl should be held in the south /warmer states and of not then west of the Rockies bc the temperature doesn’t get crazy cold on the west coast .

  41. Ed Bandell says: Mar 5, 2014 2:24 PM

    If they are seeking a superbowl I don’t think more seats will help. I think they need more talent.

    Of course that is a joke.

  42. docsweeney says: Mar 5, 2014 2:28 PM

    The whole outdoor cold weather SB idea is ridiculous. It makes it miserable for fans and doesn’t make for good playing conditions for players.

    Keep the game in a dome or in a warm climate.

  43. thetooloftools says: Mar 5, 2014 2:47 PM

    Whomever wins their division championship by the largest margin should host the Super Bowl… oh wait… 90% of the seats are already spoken for by corporate clients…. never mind.

  44. 8oneanddones says: Mar 5, 2014 2:48 PM

    Now it makes sense. Goodell figured out that if you dangle this carrot in front of cities, they will pay for stadium upgrades whether or not they even get a super bowl.

  45. weepingjebus says: Mar 5, 2014 2:55 PM

    Right after the Chicago olympics.

  46. blackandbluedivision says: Mar 5, 2014 3:01 PM

    One of the stupidest decisions this team has ever made. I love my Bears but that thing is an eyesore every time I drive to work everyday.

    Why, after all that time, they decided to renovate the stadium and not put a dome over it…and reduce seating (it was around 66,000 before the renovation now it’s at 61,000)?

    It was like they knew they were never getting a Super Bowl.

  47. bert1913 says: Mar 5, 2014 3:06 PM

    just because ny got lucky with the weather, it was still way too cold to enjoy the superbowl experience

  48. moeman79 says: Mar 5, 2014 3:22 PM

    Are they gonna play the Super Bowl in April now?

  49. jagsfan1 says: Mar 5, 2014 3:23 PM

    hosting one is as close as they will ever get to a SB

  50. granadafan says: Mar 5, 2014 4:37 PM

    If the huge snowstorm had hit one day earlier this year in New Jersey, we would no longer be talking about cold weather Super Bowls. The NFL got damned lucky this year.

    Also, it’s painfully clear to anyone with a brain that the purpose of the NJ/NY Super Bowl was just another carrot to dangle in front of teams to fleece the taxpayers into building/ re-building their lavish palaces with public money.

  51. wimpyburgers says: Mar 5, 2014 6:05 PM

    They need to tear down Soldier Field. The renovations look like a bed pan was set on top of the old structure. The turf conditions are dangerous for players. The “lake effect” and wind can make the stadium an ice bowl.

    The League office should refuse to accept a bid.

  52. whodatnhollywood says: Mar 5, 2014 6:47 PM

    They’d better put a dome on it if they want any chance of hosting a Super Bowl in Chicago.

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