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Kevin Warren explains why the Bears' new stadium won't have a retractable roof

Kevin Warren explains why the Bears' new stadium won't have a retractable roof originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Recently, Bears CEO/President Kevin Warren told fans in a letter to season ticket holders that the next Bears stadium will have a fixed roof, not a retractable roof to accommodate either indoor or outdoor weather.

"I have embraced the opportunity to meet many of you, our Season Tickets Holders, who all share the same passion and enthusiasm to bring a Super Bowl victory to the Chicagoland area as well as a new, world-class fixed-roof stadium," Warren wrote.

Why has he opted quickly for a fixed roof versus a retractable one?

"Just from experience when we were building U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, we toured every domed stadium," Warren told WGN News. "And one of the things I heard kinda over and over was that the majority of teams that have retractable roofs, they rarely use them. It was a 'nice to have.'

"And because I am budget conscious and I want to make sure we're prudent with our resources and our dollars, I think from a financial standpoint, a retractable roof would be a 'nice to have' but I would rather make sure we use those dollars on the surrounding areas, or for fan amenities that they would be able to enjoy it. But that's the main reason why."

The fixed roof at U.S. Bank Stadium --- the stadium Warren ran point on prior to arriving in Chicago --- was built with ETFE, which is a plastic polymer related to Teflon. It allows the transmission of almost the entire UV spectrum (95 percent).

Hence, to Warren's point, while it doesn't create complete exposure to the outside weather, the material gives the indoor stadium the same feeling as being outdoors, while blocking out harsh elements. Instead of spending more money on a retractable one --- which teams rarely use in the first place --- Warren would rather have a cost-efficient roof with nearly the same benefits.

"And I'm a big believer in the roof that we have in Minnesota, the ETFE, that they have at SoFi [Stadium]," Warren said. "I think it works well in our climate in Chicago and it makes it where the sun you feel like you're sitting outside. So in order to do it, you can't do a retractable roof with that ETFE."

According to Yahoo Sports! story done in 2013, it estimated the cost of a retractable roof for the Falcons stadium would cost around $185 million. That's a lot to pay for a roof that hardly gets any use. And that doesn't even provide us an accurate vision of today's costs for a retractable roof, 10+ years later.

Until then, however, the Bears have bigger fish to fry. They have yet to solidify a location, which Warren hopes to nail down soon, surely in 2024.

"I hope it comes here in kinda the next months, it has to be this year, sooner than later, that we're able to say this is where we want to do the best we can to build. There are still some options," Warren said.

For all of the latest updates and happenings with the Bears stadium, read here.

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