Mayoral candidate wants to attract Super Bowl to Chicago

Soon, Chicago will have a new mayor for the first time in two decades, and one of the men vying for the job is pushing for the city to host a Super Bowl.

Gery Chico says he doesn’t see any reason why Chicago cannot host the NFL’s premier event if New York has been given a game.

“We should pursue every possible avenue to bring America’s greatest sports competition to America’s greatest sports city,” Chico said, according to WGN-TV. “If New York can do it, Chicago can do it.”

There are a couple significant obstacles in the way. First, Soldier Field’s capacity of 61,500 is the smallest in the league, something that is already an issue for the Bears, who helped redesign the stadium for a return there in 2003. The minimum number of seats needed for a Super Bowl host stadium is 70,000, and after Super Bowl XLV is played next Sunday in Arlington, Texas, the league will likely determine bigger is better. The NFL is expected to sell close to 100,000 tickets for that game.

Next, there is a matter of getting the approval of owners to hold the game in an outdoor Northern climate. To this point, approval for the game at New Meadowlands Stadium was a one-time deal.

But David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune notes that one architect of Soldier Field says it would be possible to add temporary seating to reach 70,000.

“The capacity of Soldier Field could be temporarily increased to meet the NFL standards (for one game),'' Carlos Zapata told Haugh.

OK. Then, the playing surface would need to be addressed. As maligned as the sod surface was this past season, surely something would needed to be done. Yeah, we’re nitpicking at this point.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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