White Sox looking for greener pastures



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Chicago White Sox discussing stadium options Image: U.S. Cellular Field (Comiskey Park), Ken Lund, CC BY-SA 2.0

The Major League Baseball (MLB) team Chicago White Sox have called the Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, Illinois (US) home for more than 30 years, but according to a new report, the team is weighing their options, including the possibility of leaving Chicago behind.

‘NBC Chicago’ stated that while no decision has been reached, according to reliable sources, Jerry Reinsdorf, the Owner and Chairman of the club, would consider moving the White Sox out of Guaranteed Rate Field when their lease expires in six years.

The Chicago White Sox are an American professional baseball team based in Chicago, US. The White Sox compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League Central division. The team is owned by Jerry Reinsdorf, and plays its home games at the Guaranteed Rate Field, located on Chicago’s South Side.

Jim Willits, VP of Sales & Service, Chicago White Sox, US, is a Member of Coliseum – Global Sports Venue Alliance.

The 40,615-capacity Guaranteed Rate Field, formerly Comiskey Park and U.S. Cellular Field, is a baseball stadium located on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois, United States.

‘NBC Chicago’ further stated that relocation could be as simple as building a new stadium elsewhere in the City, or could involve moving to Chicago’s suburbs or even to Nashville, according to the report.

The White Sox said that they have not yet had conversations with the relevant authorities on their stadium situation.

Stated Scott Reifert, team spokesman, “We have not had any conversations about our lease situation. With six years remaining, it is naturally nearing a time where discussions should begin to take place. The conversations would be with the City, the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority (ISFA) and the State, and most likely would be about vision, opportunities and the future.”

Finally, the report indicates that Reinsdorf may consider selling his majority stake in the White Sox, allowing a new owner to potentially choose their future home. A team spokesperson declined comment on that portion of the report.

The White Sox moved into the Guaranteed Rate Field in 1991 after spending 80 years at the now demolished 40,615-capacity Comiskey Park, which had been located across the street.

The Park is owned by the State of Illinois, which financed the construction costs of the stadium to the tune of $137 million, according to the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority (ISFA).

Chicago (US)-based the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority (ISFA) is a Government entity created by the Illinois General Assembly in 1987 for the purpose of constructing and renovating sports stadiums for the professional sports teams in the State of Illinois. ISFA is the owner and developer of the Guaranteed Rate Field, home of the 2005 World Champion Chicago White Sox.

Sources further stated that the taxpayers still owe roughly $50 million on the bonds issued to construct the stadium.

This isn’t the first time the idea of the White Sox leaving Chicago has been floated. In fact, the team came extremely close to bolting for St. Petersburg, Florida, in the late-’80s before the former Governor of Illinois, James Thompson, helped to secure State financing for a new ballpark on the City’s South Side.

Several groups have pushed for an MLB team to either be awarded to Nashville, or to lure a current team to relocate to the Volunteer State (Tennessee), with the Music City Baseball ownership group spearheading those efforts.

The Music City Baseball is an organization of Nashville businesses, sports, music, and community leaders attempting to bring an MLB franchise to the City, which would be known as the Nashville Stars.

Recent reports stated that Nashville was chosen by the MLB players as the best City for a new franchise.

Nothing appears imminent on the decision front, with the team’s lease scheduled to expire in 2029, but negotiations are expected to intensify in the coming months and years ahead of that date.

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