Chicago Fire are negotiating to buy out the remainder of their SeatGeek Stadium lease in order to move back to the centre of the city, according to multiple reports, claims, www.sportspromedia.com/.
The Fire are tied to a punitive 30-year lease at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, Illinois, until 2036 but the club's inability to attract large crowds to the 26,000-seater venue reportedly could see them take early action to move back to downtown Chicago.
The Fire moved to the purpose-built facility in 2006, touted at the time as one of the premier soccer stadiums in MLS, after spending the majority of their early years at Soldier Field – home to the National Football League's (NFL) Chicago Bears.
However, the inaccessibility of Bridgeview, located 15 miles southwest of Downtown Chicago, has alienated current and potential supporters alike.
Since 2015 the Fire have been 18th or lower in average attendance in MLS. Last season, the average gate at SeatGeek Stadium was 14,806 with Columbus Crew the only team drawing lower crowds amid a relocation dispute.
During the Fire's last two seasons at Soldier Field (2004 and 2005), the club averaged an announced 17,153 and 17,238 fans, respectively, per game.