In the words of Monty Burns, “I know what I hate, and I don’t hate this.” The city of Chicago released renderings of a proposed dome renovation of Soldier Field earlier this morning. And I have to admit, some of these are very impressive.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office also set up a dedicated website, remimaginesoldierfield.com for those who are more interested in this $2.2 billion project to click on. At a press conference, Lightfoot made it clear that the proposals are for life with or without the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.
She maintains her stance that she hopes the Bears will stay, as a renovation is much cheaper than building a new stadium. The Bears have already purchased the land that the former Arlington Park racetrack currently sits on, with the purpose of someday potentially building a new stadium on those grounds.
Overall, this may be too little too late. A dome proposal is something that should have been done 15-20 years ago.
The Bears want their own stadium, where they wouldn’t have to share any of the revenue with the city, and thus also be dependent on the Chicago Park District for basic logistics.
As WGN News Larry Hawley points out:
“There are three possible renovations for the stadium – two of which include the expansion of the stadium to 70,000.” That’s an increase of 9,000 seats but still puts you in the lower of NFL stadium capacity.
Here are the released renderings of a proposed “Dome” renovation of Soldier Field released by the Mayor’s office today. There are three possible renovations for the stadium – two of which include the expansion of the stadium to 70,000. @WGNNews pic.twitter.com/oYiBPVNVyi
— Larry Hawley (@HawleySports) July 25, 2022
Can you host a Super Bowl at only 70,000? You can’t host a Final Four without a dome, and pretty much the same can be said for a Super Bowl.
Some graphics here show an open roof- why even do this project unless you build a dome that’s fully enclosed?
Not to mention you need to retain the iconic Soldier Field columns as the dominant imagery of the venue, for aesthetic purposes.
Overall, I’m impressed by the city’s artist renderings of the new Soldier Field dome/renovation proposal.
1. Why is @TheView the end zone scoreboard sponsor?
2. Why would some dude wear @steelers jersey to a @ChicagoFire match?#cf97 #Bears #NFLTwitter #mls https://t.co/GIq6R6Tr7o
— Paul M. Banks (@PaulMBanks) July 25, 2022
That element isn’t really present in these renderings.
Honestly, it seems like the Bears and Chicago breaking up is the best for all involved. Most of their fans are in the suburbs anyway. While it is an NFL charter franchise, it is also a club that is so horribly run, top to bottom.
The year after year mismanagement results in a product that’s painful to consume. Just let them go, and the city can always save face by saying “hey, we tried, but they had their heart set on leaving.”
That’s exactly what today was all about.
Why not just make it a great ballpark for the Chicago Fire?
Of course, that team isn’t holding up their end of the bargain either. In a league where it’s ridiculously easy to make the postseason, the Fire have gone a half-decade without a postseason appearance, and this campaign doesn’t look to promising either.
Also thought it was odd they’d render the “owner’s box” so clearly in the new Soldier Field images … but whatever. CC @BrandonCruzFOX6 @mattzahnsports @KristaCBS2 @KRoseSharkey @BenHandelman @AshleySears6 pic.twitter.com/CLsgotWSeU
— Jeremy Ross (@JeremyAdamRoss) July 25, 2022
I guess we’ll just have some fun with these Soldier Field artist renderings. Have at it on PhotoShop and tweet me your creativity!
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Bank (TheSportsBank.Net) and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He has regularly appeared in WGN, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune, and he co-hosts the After Extra Time podcast, part of Edge of the Crowd Network. Follow him and the website on Twitter and Instagram.Follow paulmbanks