• Loading stock data...
Monday, May 20, 2024

Chicago Wants Super Bowls and Final Fours. The Price? Nearly $5 Billion

  • The NFL team presents an ambitious vision for the new facility, but funding questions remain.
  • Hosting a Super Bowl, something previously unavailable to the Bears, sits as a central piece of proposal.
Chicago Bears

The Bears, of course, are a football team, but to borrow terminology from basketball events they now hope to host, the team is now putting on a full-court press to advance their vision of a new, domed lakefront stadium.

As expected, the Bears on Wednesday unveiled a detailed vision for a new stadium just south of the existing Soldier Field, building materially from the team’s initially stated intent last month to remain in the city of Chicago. Armed with an extensive deck of new renderings and a splashy hype video, team officials and Chicago mayor Brandon Johnson sought to rally support behind what would be one of the largest developments in the city’s long history. 

“This is not an easy project, but Chicago doesn’t like it easy,” Bears president Kevin Warren said. “We like to do the difficult things. We like to do the things that resonate with people for generations to come. It’s time for us to do something special together.”

The proposed publicly owned stadium—which would at last give the third-largest media market in the U.S. an opportunity to host major events such as the Super Bowl, College Football Playoff, and the Final Four—seeks to honor the existing character of the Chicago museum campus, including a preservation of the historic Soldier Field colonnades while also building a next-generation stadium, complete with a translucent roof (above) not unlike the ones at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles and Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. 

Sticker Shock

Despite the extensive scale of the team’s ambition, there remain serious questions about how the stadium will be funded. The total price tag is slightly higher than previously projected, now coming in at $3.2 billion, with at least $325 million and as much as $1.5 billion in additional infrastructure requirements. The Bears have pledged $2 billion in direct contributions, along with another $300 million in financing through the NFL. The team is asking for $900 million in public bonding, funded through the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority and backed by an existing hotel tax, while financial support for three planned phases of infrastructure improvements around the stadium is particularly undetermined.

“There are dollars that we believe exist at the state level, maybe the federal level, and potentially the city level,” Warren said. 

Johnson, however, reiterated “this project will result in no new taxes on the residents of Chicago.” Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker was not part of the Bears’ event Wednesday; he said he “remains skeptical” about the team’s proposal, adding that “I’m not sure this is among the highest priorities for taxpayers.”

Super Dreams

The prospect of hosting a Super Bowl at the new venue was a particular part of Warren’s pitch, and he cited the stadium’s location within walking distance of top-tier downtown restaurants and hotels, as well as the availability of two large-scale airports. 

“How many people would love to come to a Super Bowl in Chicago?” Warren asked. “Everyone.”

Linkedin
Whatsapp
Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

Historic Premier League Season Closes As U.S. Influence Expands

Man City can expect to receive roughly $79 million from the EPL’s system of merit payments.

WNBA’s Boom Time: Record Growth, Clark’s Debut, a Controversial Deal

League attendance is up by nearly a third, while the Liberty set a single-game ticketing record.
exclusive

‘This Is Semi-Pro’: Inside One Arena Football League Team’s Collapse

The collapse of the Georgia Force, as told by the players who lived it.

Fanatics Sues Marvin Harrison Jr., Says He Leaked ‘Misleading’ Info to ESPN

Harrison’s side says the two sides don’t have a contract, which Fanatics disputes.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

Bare Knuckle Fighting Comes Out of the Shadows

0:00

Featured Today

Michael Block signs autographs on the 18th hole during day three of practice for the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on Wednesday, May 15, 2024.

‘I Prefer It This Way’: How Life Works for PGA Club Pros

Here’s how life works for the qualifiers at golf’s second major.
February 5, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; The grounds of the Capitol Building empty out following the conclusion of President Donald Trump's State of the Union speech on February 5, 2019.
May 18, 2024

‘A Breathtaking Lobbying Campaign’: The NCAA’s Sophisticated Effort to Save Amateurism

Inside the carefully coordinated, multimillion-dollar operation to end the athletes’ rights era.
May 14, 2024

The WNBA Was Forged in Houston. Why Won’t It Go Back There?

Houston’s a perfect fit for expansion. The league isn’t considering it yet.
May 9, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) stands with the team during the national anthem on Thursday, May 9, 2024, during the preseason game against the Atlanta Dream at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
May 12, 2024

‘Perfect Storm’: The Rise of Local WNBA Broadcast Pacts

With national attention reaching new heights, regional coverage could dictate the future.

Careers

Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Live Nation
Multiple - USA Careers
Adidas
Multiple - USA Careers
FanDuel
Multiple - USA Careers
Apr 17, 2024; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Arizona Coyotes left wing Lawson Crouse (67) celebrates after scoring a goal during the third period against the Edmonton Oilers at Mullett Arena.

New Stadiums, New Hurdles: Coyotes and A’s Face High Stakes

The former Coyotes owner takes further steps to try to advance his proposed arena project.
May 9, 2024

Meet the … Utah Yeti? NHL Franchise Polling 20 Options for New Team Name

Jerseys will say ‘Utah’ for next season.
Jaguars rendering 2024
May 15, 2024

Jags’ Latest Stadium Plan: $1.4B in Upgrades, Relocate for ’27 Season

The NFL team and Jacksonville mayor Donna Deegan presented a new stadium renovation agreement.
Sponsored

Major League Rugby’s Vision for American Rugby

How Major League Rugby is leading the Rugby renaissance in the U.S.
May 3, 2024

RFK’s Demolition Could Fast-Track Commanders’ Return to D.C.

The National Park Service gives the official green light to demolish the vacant facility.
May 2, 2024

Bears’ $4.7 Billion Stadium Pitch Caught in a Game of Political Football

The office of Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker brands the team’s stadium proposal as a ‘nonstarter.’
May 1, 2024

Chiefs, Browns’ Stadium Renderings: Familiar Looking and … Premature?

New renderings and funding proposals begin to take shape long before any stadium deals are finalized.
April 30, 2024

Not a Done Deal: Arlington Heights Keeps Its Bears Stadium Hopes Alive

Arlington Heights’ mayor says the village is ready to restart stadium talks with the NFL team.