Bears: Mayor Emanuel looking to expand Soldier Field

Bears: Mayor Emanuel looking to expand Soldier Field
March 5, 2014, 9:00 pm
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Scott Krinch

The Bears hold the distinction of having the NFL's second smallest stadium, in terms of capacity. Soldier Field holds 61,500 which was the lowest in the league until the O.co Coliseum in Oakland reduced their capacity by 10,000 in 2013. 

But that could all change if everything goes according to plan for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

[MORE: Time-lapse -- Soldier Field gets Stadium Series makeover]

According to the Chicago Tribune, Emanuel is in the preliminary stages of looking into a 5,000-seat expansion of Soldier Field. The news isn't surprising as Emanuel began lobbying for a future Super Bowl in Chicago last month. Chicago hosted the 2012 NATO summit, which Emanuel drew comparisons to hosting a Super Bowl.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell hasn't committed to another cold-weather location for a future Super Bowl, but after the success of the big game in New York/New Jersey last month , he didn't seem opposed to it.

“We know there’s interest in other communities hosting the Super Bowl,” Goodell said. “I think the ownership — we’ll all sit back and review that when we’re done, but we have a very aggressive process in how to select cities. The ability to host a Super Bowl is more and more complicated, more and more complex, because of the size of the event and the number of events. So the infrastructure’s incredibly important. We’re well over 30,000 hotel rooms needed even to host the Super Bowl. So there’s some communities that may not even be able to do it from an infrastructure standpoint, but we know the passion’s there.”

[RELATED: Photo gallery -- Stadium Series at Soldier Field]

The earliest a cold-weather venue could host a Super Bowl is 2019 and last month Emanuel told the Tribune's David Haugh that Chicago could bid for the big game that same year.

"The goal is to find a decision that moves the city forward," he said. "You don't measure it that way. Would a Super Bowl be good for the city and good for the NFL? I think yes. Would having the NFL draft here be good for the city and for the NFL? The answer is yes. The goal is to have a discussion."

Other cities that have already begun pushing for a Super Bowl include Denver and Philadelphia. Two other cities rumored to have interest are Washington and New England.