April 8, 2019
The Chicago Fire soccer franchise, 49% owned by Joe Mansueto, is in talks with the Village of Bridgeview, IL to buy out its lease at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, ESPN reported. The lease runs through 2036.
The idea would be to return to Soldier Field in Chicago’s Near South Side for the 2020 season. The team last played there in 2005. The team is also considering a rebrand as the Chicago City Football Club.
For both the Fire and Bridgeview, the 20,000-seat SeatGeek Stadium, which opened in 2006 as Toyota Stadium, has proven to be a financial liability. Bloomberg reported in February that the village had about $260 million of general obligation debt, tied mainly to the stadium.
Attendance at Fire games has tended to rise and fall with the team’s success, according to ESPN. The venue is also not easily accessible from downtown Bridgeview.
Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears, has a seating capacity of 61,500.
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