Soldier Field & ISFA
On January 5, 2001, the Governor of Illinois signed into law Public Act 91-935. The principal changes to the Authority’s enabling statute included an increase in the Authority’s bond authorization to $399,000,000 and authorization to use the bond proceeds to provide financial assistance to another governmental body to provide the design, construction, and renovation of a facility owned or to be owned by that body. In 2001, the Authority entered various agreements with the Chicago Park District, the Chicago Bears Football Club, Inc., the Chicago Bears Stadium, LLC, and LaSalle Bank, N.A. as bond trustee and disbursement agent that outline the terms and conditions with respect to the redevelopment of a 97-acre parcel of Chicago lakefront park land that includes Soldier Field (the “Project”). The Authority issued $398,998,040 Series 2001 Bonds to provide financial assistance to the Project.
Soldier Field Facts & Figures
- Soldier Field is the oldest standing NFL stadium in the country; it opened in 1924 with a capacity of 45,000.
- Perhaps because it is the oldest stadium, Soldier Field has the second smallest stadium in the NFL, with a capacity of 61,500 (after the 2003 renovation, of course).
- The Chicago Park District has owned Soldier Field since its construction, and even though the Bears have called it home since 1971, Soldier Field remains park district property.
- It was originally named Municipal Grant Park Stadium, but the name was changed to Soldier Field in 1925 to honor the veterans of World War I.
- Soldier Field was officially dedicated on November 27th, 1926 for the Army v. Navy national championship game in front of a crowd of 110,000 people—the game ended in a 21-21 tie (Navy got the trophy because they were undefeated).
- From 1934-1976, Soldier Field hosted the annual College All-Star Game, a preseason exhibition game between the NFL champion team from the previous season and a team of star college seniors.
- The first-ever Special Olympics Summer Games were held in Soldier Field in 1968.
- The opening ceremony of the 1994 World Cup was held at Soldier Field, and was the first time the United States hosted the World Cup. Oprah Winfrey emceed the ceremony, and fell off the stage while introducing Diana Ross.
- Soccer fans will know this as well, but Soldier Field hosted the CONCACAF Gold Cup Final in 2007 and 2013; the US Men’s National Soccer Team won the cup both years.
- In the winter of 1958, after the creation of manmade snow, Soldier Field was the home to a miniature ski resort, complete with two ski jumps and a toboggan slide that spread down over the seats in the stadium.
Soldier Field Memorial Water Wall
The Memorial Water Wall is a 250-foot long granite wall. A continuous stream of water flows over eight medallions and seals honoring the different branches of the armed services. The water wall frames the north side of the stadium providing a dramatic entrance to Soldier Field as well as a magnificent backdrop to the museum campus and city skyline.
Parklands Surrounding Soldier Field
The Parkland surrounding Soldier Field has been created for the public’s pleasure. The 17-acre park is home to beautifully landscaped grounds and family areas such as the Children’s Garden and Veteran’s Memorial. To capture and enjoy the four seasons at Soldier Field, the Parkland will host seasonal family events, such as Fall Harvest Festivals, Spring Flower Shows and Farmer Markets. Many of the city’s walk, run and bike-a-thons will now take place in this area providing participants with a wonderful way to exercise along the north and south bike path. A variety of public and private events will also be held in the Parkland including corporate dinners, casual receptions, weddings and birthday parties. Adjacent to the Parkland is the South Festival Lot. The 400,000 square foot space will host public festivals, small concerts, sporting events, corporate ride-n-drives and more.