The Chicago Fire will soon be able to play home games in other Chicago-area sports venues, according to their new lease agreement.
The soccer club announced Tuesday it has reached a deal with Bridgeview that will allow the team to play home games and “conduct team operations” outside of SeatGeek Stadium.
“Today marks the next chapter in the growth of the club and the opportunity to play for more fans than ever in one of the world’s great cities,” Chicago Fire owner Andrew Hauptman said in a statement.
The $65.5 million deal also requires the Chicago Fire contribute $5 million to SeatGeek Stadium’s “multi-sport recreation and entertainment center,” pay higher annual lease payments to the village and continue training and operating youth development programs at the Bridgeview stadium.
“SeatGeek Stadium will now have year-round availability for consistent high-revenue generating entertainment events for years to come,” Bridgeview Mayor Steven Landek said in a statement. “Additionally, the expanded recreation venue will create even more growth opportunities for the village. I’m extremely excited about the benefits this agreement will bring to our community and for the future of a sports team that all of us in Bridgeview and the region have come to love.”
In a letter to fans, President and General Manager Nelson Rodriguez and COO John Urban wrote that the team will “explore playing in downtown Chicago as early as next season.”
“We’ll be sharing details on that in the weeks ahead,” the letter ready.
The news comes months after a report from The Athletic indicated the Fire were in negotiations with Bridgeview officials to buy out the remainder of their lease at SeatGeek Stadium. The report stated the team aimed to move back to Soldier Field, where they played their home games until the 2006 season.
The team did not indicate Tuesday which other sports venues they plan on playing at.