Since becoming mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel has had an impact on Chicago sports. Emanuel worked closely with Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts last summer when working towards a deal for the Wrigley Field renovation project. Emanuel now wants to turn his attention to the Chicago Bears and Soldier Field.
Emanuel has always been a proponent of Chicago hosting a Super Bowl at Soldier Field and the Chicago mayor must have had his efforts renewed after how successful the New York Super Bowl was in February.
According to a report from the Chicago Sun Times, Emanuel and the Chicago Park District are exploring the possibility of adding an additional 5,00 seats to Solider Field.
The biggest reason why Emanuel is looking into the addition is because it would give Chicago a fair fight in terms of landing “revenue-generating” events at Soldier Field.
“We are fighting below our weight class. That’s the way I would look at it. We capped ourselves” with a capacity of 61,500 for football and 63,500 for other events, Emanuel told the Chicago Sun-Times.-Rahm Emanuel, Chicago Sun Times
As it stands, the NFL requires that stadiums that host a Super Bowl have at least a 70,000-seat capacity. Meaning for Soldier Field to even be mentioned, the Chicago Park District would need to add at least 8,500 more seats for football games.
Looking beyond the Super Bowl, Emanuel sees nothing but benefits and more opportunities for the city of Chicago if there were to be an expansion to Soldier Field.
“I know everybody looks at the Super Bowl. But, look at this hockey event [between the Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins], which we started last year with college hockey. You look at two years ago when we had the Mexican soccer team here. We have Liverpool coming. These things not only sell out. They sell out fast. And it’s clear that you could do more, given these super events and they would be self-financing and self-sustaining.”-Emanuel, Chicago Sun Times
No expansion plan is in the work as the Chicago Park District is only taking exploratory measures at this point. Though, an expansion to Soldier Field would certainly be beneficial to the city of Chicago–especially during the football season. Soldier Field’s capacity is among the lowest in the NFL.
Meaning for Emanuel and his Super Bowl ambition, it all starts with capacity.