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White Sox Mull Leaving The South Side, With Unnamed Developer Already Preparing A Bid

The Chicago White Sox are having a disappointing 2023 season on the diamond, and the losses are piling up for the black-and-white's faithful off the field, too — the team may leave Chicago.

Team owner and Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf is considering relocating the team from its Bridgeport home when its lease is up in six years. And he is cleaning house, dismissing two top executives late Tuesday.

Guaranteed Rate Field, home of the White Sox

Sources close to Reinsdorf said he’s considering options including building a new stadium in the city or suburbs, or developing the area around the existing ballpark to include more bars and restaurants, creating a neighborhood similar to ones around other urban stadiums, Crain’s Chicago Business reported.

A move to Nashville, a city that commonly comes up in conversations about Major League Baseball expansion, is also on the table.  

The possibility of a move is legitimate enough that an unnamed Chicago developer is putting together a bid, Crain’s reports. Whispers about the team’s potential exodus from the city have made their way to Mayor Brandon Johnson’s office, and the administration is preparing to talk to the team about its future, senior adviser Jason Lee told Crain’s. 

“We have not had any conversations about our lease situation, but with six years remaining, it is naturally nearing a time where discussions should begin to take place,” team spokesman Scott Reifert told Crain’s in a statement. “The conversations would be with the city, ISFA and the state and most likely would be about vision, opportunities and the future.”

ISFA is the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, the state body that constructed and owns Guaranteed Rate Field. 

The Chicago Bears are also exploring relocation to one of the city’s surrounding suburbs, leaving major question marks about the future of two of the city's key franchises.

One of the main issues taxpayers face with the Soldier Field situation is a massive unfulfilled debt obligation of $600M in interest and principal for the renovation of the field for the team, per Crain’s.

The White Sox relocation wouldn’t generate the same issue. ISFA Executive Director Frank Bilecki told Crain’s the debt obligation at Guaranteed Rate is far smaller — $50.3M — and that amount is set to be amortized by the end of the team’s lease. 

Alderman Nicole Lee, whose ward includes Guaranteed Rate Field, told Crain’s that she’s willing to have a discussion about improvements in and around the ballpark.  

“I’m a lifelong fan of the Sox,” Lee told Crain’s. “I don’t want to see them leave. They’re a cornerstone of our ward ... I’m looking forward to being part of the conversation.”

Reinsdorf was a part of an ownership group that purchased the South Side ballclub for $19M in 1981. The franchise is now valued at around $2B. 

As news of the White Sox' possible departure percolated in Chicago media, the team announced Executive Vice President Ken Williams and Senior Vice President and General Manager Rick Hahn had been "relieved of their responsibilities, effective immediately."


The firings were announced online at 5:45 p.m CT.

Williams was in his 11th season as executive vice president with the Sox. He previously served as the team's general manager from 2001 to 2012. Hahn acted as the team's general manager for the past 11 seasons as well, and first joined as assistant general manager in 2000.

"This is an incredibly difficult decision for me to make because they are both talented individuals with long-term relationships at the White Sox," Reinsdorf said in the statement.