Soldier Field is one of the few NFL stadiums that is not tied to a naming rights agreement, a status the Chicago Bears would consider changing.
Since the late 1920’s, the facility has been known as Soldier Field, a name that has withstood the test of time and several changes to the stadium. In the most recent round of extensive renovations, which took place in 2002, the Bears publicly discussed selling the naming rights, but the decision was eventually made to keep the Soldier Field name.
Years later, it is apparently something that the Bears still think about. Selling the naming rights to a facility with the tradition of Soldier Field could draw backlash on two levels. First is the concern that a corporate partner would diminish the facility’s role as a memorial to United States soldiers. Furthermore, the name has a longstanding tradition and is easily identifiable–something that perhaps only Lambeau Field, Arrowhead Stadium, and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum can claim among current NFL venues.
Any naming rights agreement would have to be approved by the Chicago Park District, but the Bears do not see a deal of that kind of the horizon, according to team chairman George McCaskey. McCaskey says, however, that the Bears are open to the possibility in the future. More from the Chicago Sun-Times:
“It was supposed to be part of the reconstruction of Solider Field,” McCaskey said. “It didn’t happen. We’d be open to it.
“We’re sensitive to the fact that our stadium is a war memorial, so we want to be respectful of the men and women in the military, those who have served and will serve.”
The Chicago Park District owns Soldier Field and would make any decision — not the Bears. McCaskey stressed that it wasn’t a front-burner issue for him or the Bears.
“I don’t know anything in the works right now,” he said. “It’s a possibility.”
Recently the Kansas City Chiefs discussed selling the naming rights to the field at Arrowhead Stadium, but assured that Arrowhead Stadium would remain in the facility’s name. Perhaps the Bears would consider an arrangement of that kind, should the naming rights for Soldier Field ever be purchased.
Image courtesy of the Chicago Bears.