Can Chicago Afford To Provide Funding For Two Stadiums?

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Andrew Vaughn Homer As White Sox Walkoff Rays
(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

The owners of the Major League Baseball Chicago White Sox franchise may have an eye on some property on Chicago’s south side where the ownership would be able to build a stadium. The McCaskey family, the owners of the National Football League’s Chicago Bears franchise may be eyeing the south parking lot of the Soldier Field property to build a new stadium. Owners do not fully pay for a venue which means the city of Chicago may have to find money, hundreds of millions of dollars to help fund the construction of two proposed stadiums. How will Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson be able to find money? Perhaps nothing outright but there are various gadgets available to city politicians that include payments in lieu of taxes or creating special tax districts which would create revenue streams that could pay for stadium construction. There will be an infrastructure cost that will have to be picked up by Chicago for sewer and water lines into the property and for road surface work. That is standard procedure for municipalities working with sports owners for sports venues.

White Sox ownership led by Jerry Reinsdorf has a lease with the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority to use the present south side stadium that expires after the 2029 season. Reinsdorf in August 2023 said his business needed a new stadium whether it was in Chicago or in some other city. Reinsdorf spoke to Nashville city leaders about the city and how the market could handle a baseball team with an NFL franchise, a National Hockey League team and a Major League Soccer squad in town. In the late 1980s, Reinsdorf played Chicago against St. Petersburg, Florida in the stadium game. Reinsdorf got a commitment from Illinois to build a new stadium and remained in Chicago. The stadium game in Chicago is heating up.

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Reinsdorf is looking for a new stadium.