New York has started something.
Yes, it was a gamble by the NFL to go with a cold weather city to host this year’s Super Bowl and with it being New York City, it was a gamble the NFL could afford to take. Well, that gamble has paid off and now other cold weather cities want to get in the action — including Chicago.
It is rumored that Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel is in the preliminary stages of looking at a 5,000-seat expansion of Soldier Field. The mayor’s office and Chicago Park District, which runs the stadium, are exploring the possibility of luring a Super Bowl to the city of Chicago, although it will be a longshot.
Despite Chicago being the second-largest market in the NFL, next to New York City, Soldier Field is currently the smallest stadium in the NFL with a capacity of 61,500 seats. The NFL’s preferred minimum for a Super Bowl is 70,000 seats, so if Chicago does expand Soldier Field by 5,000 seats, the stadium will still be shy of seating the preferred minimum to host a Super Bowl.
However, the idea of a Soldier Field expansion is not only generated by a possible Super Bowl bid, it will also increase seating capacity for other revenue-generating events, like last week’s Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Chicago Blackhawks NHL game in a snowy and frigid Soldier Field.
It is rumored that Chicago could bid for the Super Bowl as early as 2019. Given the history of Chicago winters, it will be hard to imagine a possible scenario where NFL fans can enjoy watching the country’s biggest game in sub-freezing temperatures but hey, if it worked for New York, maybe it can work for Chicago.