July 10 (UPI) -- Major League Soccer's Chicago Fire will pay $65.5 million to break their lease at SeatGeek Stadium, about 15 miles southwest of downtown Chicago.
The franchise announced an amended lease with the Village of Bridgeview Tuesday, which allows the Fire to play future home games and conduct team operations in other Chicagoland sports venues. The Fire will contribute $5 million to the Village of Bridgeview to refurbish and expand existing soccer facilities near SeatGeek Stadium.
The Fire will play games elsewhere at the start of next season -- potentially Solider Field, the home of the Chicago Bears, where the team played from 1998 to 2001 and 2003 to 2006 before moving to SeatGeek Stadium. A new permanent home has not yet been announced.
In addition to the refurbishing payment, Bridgeview will also receive $60.5 million over the remaining term of the lease, which runs through the 2036 season. The agreement includes an upfront payment of $10 million. The Fire will continue training at the facility and operating Chicago Fire Youth development programs on the stadium site.
"SeatGeek Stadium will now have year-round availability for consistent high-revenue generating entertainment events for years to come," Bridgeview Mayor Landek said in a statement. "Additionally, the expanded recreation venue will create even more growth opportunities for the Village.
"I'm extremely excited about the benefits this agreement will bring to our community and for the future of a sports team that all of us in Bridgeview and the region have come to love."
"We are grateful to Mayor Landek and the residents of Bridgeview for our partnership," Chicago Fire owner Andrew Hauptman said. "We're glad we are able to strengthen our relationship while exposing even more fans to our club and world-class soccer in a more centrally located Chicago stadium.
"Today marks the next chapter in the growth of the club and the opportunity to play for more fans than ever in one of the world's great cities."