Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise the Chicago White Sox is reportedly reviewing its stadium options, with the potential of relocating to Nashville said to be on the agenda.
Crain’s Chicago Business, citing knowledgeable sources, said Jerry Reinsdorf, the Sox’s majority owner and chairman, is considering moving the organisation from Guaranteed Rate Field in Bridgeport when its lease expires in 2029.
Moving to a new stadium in the city or suburbs, or even relocating to Nashville, are said to be among the possibilities considered. The Music City Baseball group has long held plans to bring MLB to Nashville at a proposed sports and entertainment district, including a stadium with a retractable roof.
Crain’s said Reinsdorf may also seek to sell the Sox, which his group has owned since 1981. Responding to the news, Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson’s administration “is planning to hold a conversation with the team about its future,” according to senior adviser Jason Lee.
The Sox said: “We have not had any conversations about our lease situation, but with six years remaining, it is naturally nearing a time where discussions should begin to take place. The conversations would be with the city, ISFA and the state and most likely would be about vision, opportunities and the future.”
ISFA is the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, the state entity that built and owns Guaranteed Rate Field. The Sox have called the 40,615-capacity ballpark home since it opened in 1991.
ISFA executive director, Frank Bilecki, said there would be challenges involved in developing the area around Guaranteed Rate Field, or building an entirely new stadium at the site. However, one significant problem the Sox would not have to face is a major debt for stadium construction.
The figure at Guaranteed Rate Field is only $50.3m (£39.8m/€46.5m), which is scheduled to be amortised by the end of the team’s lease in 2029, Bilecki said. He added that the current lease deal includes a one-year option that would extend into mid-2030.
The latest reports make the Sox the latest Chicago sports team facing stadium questions. NFL franchise the Bears is also assessing its options away from Soldier Field.