Back in 1996, well before the Chicago Bears had come anywhere close to finalizing plans for a refurbished Soldier Field, plans were in the works to build a new domed stadium to the south of the stadium.
The project was called McDome because it was to be located next to McCormick Place, a convention center, and one sports-based consulting expert says such a stadium would have brought multiple Super Bowls to the city by now.
Marc Ganis, president of SportsCorp Ltd., tells Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune that politics got in the way of a domed stadium.
"Had Chicago and Illinois built the McDome (in 1996), the original domed stadium planned for next to McCormick Place, I suspect we would have had at least two Super Bowls already," Ganis said.
"It was extremely short-sighted; it was extremely narrow focus. … It would have cost (less than what it eventually) cost simply to upgrade Soldier Field. It would have been a terrific financial and tourism boost for the city."
Soldier Field presents issues for the Bears right now because it has the smallest seating capacity in the NFL. The question was recently raised about the possibility of a Super Bowl being played at Soldier Field, but the capacity of 61,500 would be a major drawback for the NFL.
Ganis says a turf battle between state and local leaders prevented any traction on the McDome plan. Now, the Bears deal with seating issues in a stadium that doesn’t look to have an easy plan for adding additional seats.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune
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