After a new report revealed that the Chicago White Sox were evaluating a site in the South Loop neighborhood for a new ballpark, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker weighed in on the idea of providing state subsidies for construction of the stadium.
Pritzker was asked about potential state subsidies for the White Sox during a press event on Thursday morning.
“Nobody’s made an ask yet. Having said that, I think you know my views on privately owned teams, and whether the public should be paying for private facilities that will be used for private business,” he said. “Having said that, there are things that government does to support business all across the state, investing in infrastructure and ensuring the success of business in Illinois,” he added.
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On Wednesday evening, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that the White Sox are looking at a site in the South Loop known as “The 78” as a potential stadium location, meeting with developers on the property.
The team did not confirm those discussions, but a joint statement from Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson revealed that discussions have remained ongoing between the city and ball club.
“Mayor Brandon Johnson and White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf met to discuss the historic partnership between the team and Chicago and the team’s ideas for remaining competitive in Chicago in perpetuity,” the statement read. “The partnership between the city and the team goes back more than a century, and the Johnson administration is committed to continuing this dialogue moving forward.”
The proposed site is located near the intersection of Roosevelt Road and Clark Street. The Chicago River and several train lines are located near the site, both of which could play into the design and structuring of a park.
The White Sox have played at Guaranteed Rate Field since 1991, and had previously played across 35th Street at Comiskey Park since 1910.
Former Illinois Gov. Jim Thompson helped to push through a deal to publicly finance Guaranteed Rate Field through the creation of the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority in the late 1980’s.
State taxpayers still owe roughly $50 million on bonds used to construct the stadium. The White Sox lease expires after the conclusion of the 2028 season.
The state remains responsible for capital repairs on the ballpark, and the White Sox now pay rent on the stadium until the end of their lease.
In August 2023, Crain’s Chicago Business reported that the White Sox would consider moving out of the stadium at the conclusion of their lease. Reinsdorf met with Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell during baseball’s winter meetings, further fueling speculation surrounding interest in locating a Major League team in the city.
Other sites have been discussed in Chicago, including locations near the United Center, which Reinsdorf co-owns with Blackhawks chairman Danny Wirtz.