BRIDGEPORT — The Chicago White Sox could be mulling options to leave their longtime South Side home, but no decisions have been finalized, according to a report.
Greg Hinz of Crain’s Chicago Business reported this week that White Sox ownership could move the team to a new stadium in the city, suburbs or even as far as Nashville, Tennessee, when its lease at Guaranteed Rate Field ends in six years.
There are also some rumblings that chairman and majority owner Jerry Reinsdorf might be considering selling the team, Crain’s reported, citing sources with the team and in local government.
Reinsdorft is also majority owner of the Chicago Bulls, but it is not believed he is considering selling the NBA franchise, according to reports.
“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,” team spokesman Scott Reifert told Crain’s. “The conversations would be with the city, ISFA and the state and most likely would be about vision, opportunities and the future.”
ISFA refers to the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, which owns Guaranteed Rate Field. A senior adviser to Mayor Brandon Johnson told Crain’s the mayor is planning to talk to the team about its future.
This is not the first time the White Sox have publicly considered a relocation in an effort to get a new stadium deal.
As the city grapples with the latest rumbling of the Chicago Bears angling to leave for the suburbs, it was the threat of a similar move that helped keep the White Sox in Chicago nearly four decades ago.
With the team close to finalizing a move to St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1988, then-Gov. James R. Thompson pulled off an improbable legislative win by personally appearing on the floor of the General Assembly and currying enough votes to build a new, taxpayer-subsidized $167 million ballpark at 35th and Shields, according to the Tribune.
That park, built across from the original Comiskey Park, opened in 1991 and later was renamed U.S. Cellular Field and then Guaranteed Rate Field.
The stadium has since been renovated, including the removal of eight rows from the upper deck in 2004 and the addition of a bar-restaurant across the street.
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