At the NFL owners meeting in Orlando, Chicago Bears President Ted Philips attempted to dispelled any rumors about the possible expansion of Soldier Field. In an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times Philips said,
“First of all, we are always open to listening to any ideas to improve Soldier Field, we talk to the Park District and general superintendent Mike Kelly all the time. We’re always trying to find ways to improve the experience and see what we can do. But currently there are no plans. There are no plans being developed. So we’re just going to kind of take things as we go and see what comes out of it. But there are no current plans.”
This response stems from an interview Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel gave at the beginning of March in which he expressed his desire to work with the Chicago Park District to expand the stadium by 5,00 seats, in the hopes of bringing a Super Bowl to the city. Without this expansion, Soldier Field does not meet the minimum seating requirement that is set by the NFL for a stadium to be eligible to host a Super Bowl. As it sits the stadium seats 67,000 for football games, the minimum requirement for the Super Bowl is at least 70,000 seats.
Super Bowl possibility or not, there is no reason not to expand the stadium. An extra 5,000 seats will not go unsold in a football crazy town like Chicago, so there would be no possibility of not filling the seats. With Soldier Field currently having the smallest seating capacity of any stadium in the NFL, Bears fans would definitely love to have more seats available for games.
With a passionate fanbase and a team poised to make a run in the playoffs for the next few years, now is the optimum time to expand the stadium, Mr. Philips. A successful team always brings more fans to the game and by adding more seats now, the team could capitalize on that success. I am sure there are a few passionate Bear fans out there with connections to the Chicago Park District who can help push this plan through.
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