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Chicago Bears Reveal Plans and Renderings for New Domed Stadium

After lots of false starts, discussion, and rumors, the Bears today announced their plans to build a new translucent-roofed stadium just south of their current home, Soldier Field.

The plan still requires city and state approval, and there will almost certainly be a robust debate about how much of the cost, if any, will be borne by taxpayers. But if the $4.6 billion project goes forward as planned, ground would be broken in 2025, and the new facility would open in the summer of 2028.

The renderings for some recent stadium projects have included signage saying, “Sponsor Stadium,” pending the eventual sale of naming rights. But as you can see above, the Bears’ renderings simply show the word “Stadium,” displayed in the team’s familiar font. Here’s the full complement of renders that the team released today:


Soldier Field, which opened in 1924, is the oldest NFL stadium. It also has the league’s smallest seating capacity: 61,500.

Comments (51)

    Typo there in 20225. Although knowing the Bears, that actually could be the date they break ground…

    The surrounding part of the site is a no go, right? Didnt they bend over backwards to make minimal changes to the walls of Soldier Field during the 2000s spaceship renovation. This looks like they basically tear down the whole thing, and build representation of the old columns.

    This aint Yankee Stadium. This is a public historic site, and there is about the same level of threat to move as in KC

    Putting aside the financing/feasibility/politics…the idea is to tear down everything at Solider Field EXCEPT for the original (historically protected) old columns. So those columns are not rebuilt in those renderings but left as the last (and only) current elements still standing.

    Soldier Field lost it’s historical landmark status after the spaceship was built. The colonnades are supposed to be the only thing saved if this happens.

    Well, there would be one less option based on the shown plan, as the new stadium would be replacing the Waldron Deck, so… maybe they’ll turn the South Lot into a garage instead?

    Parking is a logistical nightmare already down there. With this being a little further to the south, I’m guessing they might take greater advantage of McCormick Place parking, but while that adds spaces, that doesn’t necessarily make the logistics any better.

    Why you do this, when you have the option to be closer to your fans and *already own the land* in Arlington Heights is truly beyond me.

    Sure, that makes logical sense for fans, but then the TV blimp shots wouldn’t look nearly as good. Remember that this is a TV sport mainly, people love those aerial shots. Downtown and lake, they gotta have it in frame.

    Am I looking at the rendering correctly? From the outdoor ice ring to the entrance to the stadium – what’s with walking up three stories of steps‽‽‽‽‽

    You gotta love that in the Women’s Final Four mockup scene they have in the photo gallery, all the tiny little “players” on the court look to be male, with short haircuts.

    So this is all about trying to get a Supe and a Final Four, yes?

    Why else would you need to build a domed monstrosity…

    Seems to be a trend, doesn’t it. Wouldn’t bother me to tear down the spaceship, dig up the underground parking and make a modernized version of the original Soldier Field. There was something awesome about seeing the colonnades above the seating as a child when the cameras panned the stands.

    As a Chicagoan, I’m skeptical.
    1 – Chicago still owes 600M in bonds from the 2003 renovation of Soldier Field
    2 – They’re going to struggle with approval for any other buildings on the site given the city’s Lakefront Protection ordinance which tends to restrict building of any new permanent structures inside of Lake Shore Drive
    3 – The Bears are asking for the City/State to put up half the $ for the new stadium. Good luck.
    4 – There’s literally no parking? This area isn’t the greatest for public transportation either. Soldier Field already struggles with that.

    This feels like a news dump right before they have the #1 pick in the draft and this story goes by the wayside

    This looks like Allegiant 2.0, The window is a bit bigger with no seats right in front of it, but flanked by two scoreboards. Double decker Suites on one side. The roof (except the transparency) is virtually identical.

    I am not saying that is bad, it just looks real familiar.

    Someone on Cesspool (new name for X, dontcha know) compared renderings of this and the Titans’ new digs with the Raiders’ stadium, and they’re all nearly identical. I think the Bears have a third row of suites pushing the upper deck even higher – not that anyone in the NFL cares about people that sit in the upper deck.

    And isn’t it a bit disingenuous to call Soldier Field “the NFL’s oldest stadium”? Except for the lowest level exterior walls and the colonnades, isn’t the whole thing only 10-15 years old?

    It looks great. Who doesn’t like new and shiny things. It will be a nice addition to the “sports stadiums that were never built” YouTube videos or whatever thing people read/watch in the future.

    Personally I like the roof, since I’m a wuss and would never go to a game in freezing weather. Of course I grew up in Southern California and now live in Arizona. The question I have is what happens when a huge amount of snow builds up on the roof? It looks pretty flat.

    It’s always baffled me that the Bears didn’t start playing at Soldier Field until 1971. By all accounts it’s a much better venue than Wrigley Field. What took them so long?

    Soldier Field was too big for a fringe pastime like professional football. Wrigley had a proper clubhouse, rapid transit, concessions, and a sweetheart deal for the Bears where they didn’t have to give up much revenue share to the Wrigleys.

    Lambeau held 60,000 fans in the 1960’s. Surely the Chicago Bears could’ve drawn similar crowds.

    That baseball field in the foreground…have the A’s looked at that as a future option?

    Calling Soldier Field as it stands today “the oldest NFL stadium” is something of a “Ship of Theseus” experiment, isn’t it?

    Like it’s one thing to add new things while preserving the existing structure (á la Fenway Park) but here they basically blew out the whole interior of the old stadium and built an entire new one on top of it, didn’t they?

    Last time I stopped for a visit was in 2017. It still has not grown on me. As nice as it looks on the inside, it looks so out of place on the outside. When I lived in the Quad Cities growing up, Dad and I watched the Bears every Sunday. I always loved seeing the colonnades. The atmosphere just isn’t the same. I realize why they did it. But, look at what the Packers did with Lambeau. Why couldn’t the Bears/Chicago have done something similar to add luxury boxes and keep the same look? May have been structural complications??????

    You can’t have a Final Four outside.
    You can’t have a Super Bowl outside in the snow.

    New York had a Super Bowl….. Now a Final Four….. That would be a bit of an issue LOL

    The Soldier Field site is older than Lambeau Field. That said, as noted, the Bears didn’t move there until 1970. And the Bears left for Univ. of Illinois during the last renovation.

    As such, the Packers usually refer to Lambeau as the longest continuously used NFL stadium, or something like that.

    Why would not have the stadium where you look at it from the top and it be shaped like the Bears helmet logo enveloping the translucent roof?

    Doubt they’ll be able to navigate Illinois’ insane political scene and get this built. Still think they’ll end up somewhere in the ‘burbs.

    I am not a Bears fan (though I have great respect for them) and don’t live in the Chicago area. I’m sure it will be a nice stadium for local fans. There are some football teams I just can’t picture playing in a dome as their home stadium. The Bears are one of them. The Raiders were one of them too but that’s already happened.

    I totally agree. The NFC North, one of the proudest and best divisions, needs to have at least two teams play outside. I loved it when the Vikings played at the University of Minnesota while the new dome was built. Outdoor football is the best, and outdoor football in the snow beats any setting in sports. It’s a shame money interests (lets’ get a superbowl, some concerts, ect.!) just keeps taking and taking and taking.

    Anyone else notice the wishbone C incorporated into the roof design? You can even see the little kink in the C on the pic that shows the south end of the stadium. Fun little touch.

    Looks fantastic, will never be built. The detail I notice is that the wishbone C is used again as the primary logo in the future Stadium. As if to say: yes, we are still a Chicago team and not da Bears from da Burbs. That was the reason for promoting the Bear logo over the C for this season, right? To get back at the city.

    No, George McCaskey said that they simply wanted to see the Bear-head logo “a little bit more” by making it the primary logo (on the web, on merchandise, etc). At that time, he said that the wishbone “C” would remain on the helmet and as the midfield logo.

    Yeah I don’t see any way this gets built, especially in that location. There’s still like $600 million outstanding from the 2000s renovation, and voters everywhere are only getting less willing to spend their tax dollars on stadiums with virtually no benefit back to the city.

    A very beautiful venue. The exterior looks like the Cowboys stadium. The interior looks more like the Raiders stadium. I’m skeptical it will be built there because the team bought a large piece of property in Arlington Heights.

    I saw no midfield jumbotron during football, but one during basketball. Clip-on jumbotron?

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