Soldier Field Renovation Timeline

1971:

  • Bears move from Wrigley Field and play first game at Soldier Field on September 19, 1971.
  • Chicago defeats the Pittsburgh Steelers 17-15 before capacity crowd of 55,701.

1978:

  • Plank seating replaced by individual seats with backs and armrests.

1979:

  • New lighting, playing surface and locker rooms installed.
  • Seating rebuilt including new chairbacks, armrests, seats and improvement of sightlines.

1982:

  • Additional rebuilding of seating areas completed as well as new concourses added with more restrooms and concession areas.
  • New press box, 60 deluxe skyboxes and a new scoreboard also built. Capacity is increased to 66,030.

1988:

  • Surface changed from artificial turf to natural grass.
  • 56 skyboxes added along south rim (increasing the total to 116). Capacity is increased to 66,946.

1992:

  • Four seats are added increasing capacity to 66,950.

1994:

  • The Park District spends millions to refurbish the stadium for the World Cup Soccer Tournament. Capacity is reduced by six to the current figure of 66,944.

2000:

  • Mayor Daley announces Lakefront Redevelopment Project including the renovation and expansion of Soldier Field.

2001:

  • Project receives State and City approval.

2002:

  • Demolition begins on stadium immediately following playoff game on January 19, 2002.
  • Existing colonnades and the shell of Soldier Field restored.
  • 61,500 seat state-of-the-art facility constructed for athletic, artistic and cultural events.
  • 133 Suites and approximately 8,600 Club Seats installed.
  • Two 23 feet by 82 feet video boards located in the north and south end zones.
  • 600 feet of ribbon panel LED signage, featuring game stats, advertising and other fan features installed.
  • Hybrid sound system installed consisting of three large clusters of speakers and 162 individual speaker boxes.
  • New 2,500 public space underground parking structure between Soldier Field and the Field Museum built.
  • Two-story above-ground parking structure south of Soldier Field built.
  • Reconstruction and landscaping of surface parking lot near McCormick Place completed.
  • 17 new acres of public park facilities created and 1,400 new trees planted.

2003:

  • Soldier Field officially reopened for National Football League games on September 29, 2003.
  • Chicago Bears play their first game on the new Soldier Field against the Green Bay Packers.