The Chicago White Sox have called Guaranteed Rate Field home for more than 30 years, but according to a new report, the team is weighing their options, including the possibility of leaving Chicago behind.
While no decision has been reached, according to a new report from Crain’s Chicago Business, Jerry Reinsdorf, the owner and chairman of the club, would consider moving the White Sox out of Guaranteed Rate Field when their lease expires in six years.
That relocation could be as simple as building a new stadium elsewhere in the city, or could involve moving to Chicago’s suburbs or even to Nashville, according to the report.
The White Sox told the publication that they have not yet had conversations with relevant authorities on their stadium situation, and pointed to their statement in Crain’s when asked for comment on the story.
“We have not had any conversations about our lease situation,” team spokesman Scott Reifert told Crain’s. “With six years remaining, it is naturally nearing a time where discussions should begin to take place. The conversations would be with the city, ISFA and the state, and most likely would be about vision, opportunities and the future.”
Finally, the report indicates that Reinsdorf may consider selling his majority stake in the White Sox, allowing a new owner to potentially choose their future home. A team spokesperson declined comment on that portion of the report.
The White Sox moved into Guaranteed Rate Field in 1991 after spending 80 years at Comiskey Park, which had been located across the street.
The park is owned by the state of Illinois, which financed the construction costs of the stadium to the tune of $137 million, according to the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority.
Taxpayers still owe roughly $50 million on the bonds issued to construct the stadium, according to the Crain’s report.
This isn’t the first time the idea of the White Sox leaving Chicago has been floated. In fact, the team came extremely close to bolting for St. Petersburg, Florida in the late-1980’s before former Gov. James Thompson helped to secure state financing for a new ballpark on the city’s South Side, a story recounted in an article on SABR’s website.
Several groups have pushed for an MLB team to either be awarded to Nashville, or to lure a current team to relocate to the Volunteer State, with the Music City Baseball ownership group spearheading those efforts.
According to a recent poll in The Athletic, Nashville was chosen by MLB players as the best city for a new franchise.
Nothing appears imminent on the decision front, with the team’s lease scheduled to expire in 2029, but negotiations are expected to intensify in coming months and years ahead of that date.