US CELLULAR FIELD
After 80 years at one ballpark, the White
Sox became the first team to open a new ballpark in the 1990s.
With an aging
Comiskey Park, the White Sox wanted a new facility. In the mid 1980s, talk began on building a new stadium. Planners spent
the better part of the 1980s studying every baseball stadium to get
the best ideas for a new ballpark. The study also gave architects and contractors
a guide as what not to include in the
stadium. As early as 1985 the City of Chicago and the White Sox
began discussing locations for a new ballpark. The city offered a
location for a 50,000 seat stadium at Roosevelt Road along the
Chicago River. In December 1986, the White Sox pitched a ballpark in
a west suburban Addison location. A site next to Comiskey Park was
also a possibility. Studies were also conducted by the White Sox
Stadium Authority to renovate Comiskey Park. However, this was
determined to be to expensive and the team preferred a new ballpark.
After Illinois voters rejected building a new
stadium, the White Sox began making threats of moving the team to
Tampa, FL. However Illinois Governor James R. Thompson was key in
revenue for a stadium to be built. After deciding on a location to build the
new ballpark, next to old Comiskey Park, construction began May 7, 1989. Built of a concrete
structure with a pre-cast concrete facing, the new stadium rose much
higher than its neighbor, old Comiskey Park. It took just two years
for the new ballpark to be completed. Originally, it was given the same name as
Comiskey Park. However in January 2003, U.S.
Cellular purchased the naming rights for $68 million over 23 years
in order to name the stadium
U.S. Cellular Field.
Opening day came on April 18, 1991, when
Governor Thompson threw the ceremonial first pitch. Over 44,000 fans
U.S. Cellular Field's blue seats
that day. Only one thing was transferred from old Comiskey Park to U.S. Cellular Field, the dirt from the infield.
The ballpark was praised when it opened, but that changed one year later when Oriole Park at Camden Yards
opened. Once fans saw the nostalgic appearance of Camden Yards they were
disappointed that US Cellular Field was not
built in a similar manner. The ballpark was
also criticized because the steepness of the upper deck. With all the retro ballparks built after
the construction of US Cellular Field in 1991, the team decided to
improve and enhance the stadium to give it a retro appearance in an
effort to attract more fans to games. After the 2000 season U.S. Cellular Field underwent
several renovations. Several rows of seats were added along the foul
lines, the bullpens were relocated, a
two-tier outdoor terrace area for the Bullpen Sports Bar was created and the outfield seating area
was extended down to the fence in several
sections. The outfield fences were moved in
17 feet down the left-field line (330 feet from 347), 12 feet down
the right-field line (335 from 347) and three feet in right-center
field (372 from 375).
Left-center field increased by two feet (377
from 375), while straightaway center field remained the same (400ft.).
Renovations continued after the 2001 season.
They included a new multi-tiered
batter's eye in center field, a vertical screen behind home plate,
improvements to the main concourse and upgrading the club level.
With the money acquired in the deal with US Cellular for the naming
rights to the stadium, the
continued to make
additional improvements to the stadium. After the 2003 season the
White Sox demolished
eight rows from the top
of the upper
deck eliminating 6,600 seats and lowering the height of the
ballpark. A flat roof was installed, covering two-thirds of the upper
deck and enclosing the upper deck concourse. A translucent wall
connects the roof to provide further protection from the weather
and offers a distinctive look to the park. After the 2004 season, a section of seating behind homeplate in the lower deck was removed and replaced with new luxury
Today fans from all over Chicago travel to US Cellular Field to
watch the White Sox play. Numerous parking lots surround the stadium
and the CTA red line train makes a stop at Sox/35th, providing
public transportation to the stadium. Once inside US Cellular Field,
must go up either ramps or escalators to access any of the four
main levels of the stadium.
levels of seats extend from behind homeplate to both of the foul poles. Included on
two levels, are 85 private suites and four party suites. A two tier
stadium club restaurant is located down the right field line.
Bleacher seats stretch across the outfield, with the exception of in
straightaway centerfield. A replica of the old park's famous
exploding scoreboard, first conceived by Bill Veeck is located over
the centerfield bleachers. Numerous amenities can be found at US
Cellular Field They include the multilevel
interactive FUNdamentals skills deck in left field, and the two
level fan deck in center field,
panoramic view of the playing field. There are many great locations
throughout the outfield concourse for fans to mingle, buy
concessions or merchandise. One of the most popular areas in the
summer is the Rain Room where a cool mist relieves the summertime
heat. Throughout the 2005 season and by the
start of the 2006 season, fans will notice a gradual change as the
blue seats are replaced by green ones. For the first time
since 1959 White Sox fans saw World Series baseball played on the
south side as the team won the 2005 World Series.
FACTS & FIGURES
-Tenant: Chicago White Sox
April 18, 1991
330-L, 377-LC, 400-C, 372-RC, 335-R
-Owner: Illinois Sports Facilities Authority
-Former Name(s): Comiskey Park (1991-2003)
US Cellular, $3.4 million through 2025
Financing: 100%: $150 million bonds for land/construction,
2% hotel tax
Cellular Field Seating
-Home Dugout: Third Base
Field Ground Rules
-Directions & Parking
HOTELS NEAR US CELLULAR
AT US CELLULAR FIELD
World Series: 2005
All Star Game: 2003
Cy Young winner Jack McDowell in
A.L. batting champion Frank Thomas in
Frank Thomas hits his 400th homerun
on July 25, 2003.
Thome's 500th homerun on September 16, 2007.
Buehrle throws a perfect game on July 23, 2009.