Commissioners of the Chicago Park District Wednesday authorized staff to negotiate a lease for the Chicago Fire to play at Soldier Field, but terms have yet to be decided.
The only specific provision given to the board was the proposed life of the lease — three years with options for eight more — starting with the 2020 season.
The Fire will pay the agency, which owns Soldier Field, “a user fee and operating expenses for home games,” said Park District spokeswoman Michele Lemons. In addition, the district “will receive a facility fee for each attendee, as well as a share of revenue from parking, concessions and merchandise sales.”
A source said that among the points still being worked out is how the grass field can be shared with the Chicago Bears, as part of the Major League Soccer season overlaps with football.
In a statement, the Fire said, “Given today’s positive vote, we’re excited to continue working with the Chicago Park District to finalize an agreement. The Club will provide additional updates as they occur.”
The Fire have played in Bridgeview since 2006 at SeatGeek Stadium, the former Toyota Park. Prior to that, the team had played at multiple home venues, including Soldier Field.
In July, the Fire reached an agreement with Bridgeview to break the stadium lease. The original 30-year deal was to expire in 2036.
Under the amended lease, the Fire will pay $60.5 million to the village over the next 17 years, including $10 million upfront. They’ll also contribute $5 million toward the renovation and expansion of soccer facilities surrounding SeatGeek Stadium.
Contributing: Brian Sandalow