White Sox exploring new stadium sites

Owner Jerry Reinsdorf is pondering selling team, moving it out of state

White Sox Exploring New Stadium Sites
A photo illustration of Jerry Reinsdorf and Guaranteed Rate Field (Getty, redlegsfan21 from Vandalia, OH, United States, CC BY-SA 2.0 - via Wikimedia Commons)

The Chicago White Sox are on the hunt for a new stadium site, and that could mean leaving the Chicago area entirely.

Jerry Reinsdorf, the MLB team’s majority owner and chairman, could move the White Sox when its lease at Guaranteed Rate Field in Bridgeport, where it currently plays, expires in six years, Crain’s reported.

Reinsdorf’s exploration has barely begun, but some possibilities for a new game day venue include sites in the city, suburbs or even Nashville, which has been a rumor for years. There have also been whispers of Reinsdorf possibly selling the team, while maintaining ownership of the Chicago Bulls.

The White Sox’s stadium search is serious enough that at least one developer, whose identity has not been publicly revealed, is preparing a bid to build a new field, the outlet reported. Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson is also planning to have a discussion with the team in regards to its future.

“Looking ahead to the next 20 or 30 years, the functionality and viability of the team at its current location has to be considered,” a source close to Reinsdorf told the outlet. “This is the time to evaluate other options in and around Chicago.”

One city official said the White Sox referred to the situation as a crossroads between an owner who’s unsure if he wants to keep the team and “a strategic real estate decision where you either have to move or develop the area around the stadium, like the [Chicago Cubs owner] Ricketts [family] did at Wrigley Field.”

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Developing the area around Guaranteed Rate Field or even building a new stadium on a nearby parking lot isn’t a viable option, according to some officials.

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This Great Game, a baseball history website, referred to Guaranteed Rate Field as “a soulless venue everyone loved to hate with its vertigo-inducing upper deck and refusal to integrate with the neighborhood.”

Other baseball stadiums, including Wrigley and its renewed surroundings, have more of a community feel with hotels, apartments, restaurants and shops nearby the stadium. It’s possible the White Sox pursue a location where surrounding development is more feasible.

The Chicago Bears are also on the hunt for a new game day venue. The NFL squad appeared locked in to build a $5 billion stadium in Arlington Heights, but Johnson has expressed a desire to keep the team within the city limits. The White Sox are monitoring the Bears’ stadium search, as it could influence its decision, the outlet reported.

— Quinn Donoghue