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SBD/May 17, 2013/Facilities
DePaul, Emanuel Unveil $173M Arena At McCormick Place; Scheduled To Open In '14
Published May 17, 2013
PADDING THE COFFERS: In Chicago, Toni Ginnetti reports DePaul plans to "raise its share of funding through ticket sales, private donations -- with several major donors already committed and to be announced soon, through increased revenues that will come from the new television rights deal for the new Big East and Fox television, and through naming rights." Those rights will "include the facility itself as well as internal naming options for suites, some seats and locker rooms." DePaul will "get longterm tenancy in the arena with 30 dates for its men’s and women’s basketball teams, practice time and school graduations." DePaul President Dennis Holtschneider said that the school "considered the offer" from Bulls and White Sox Owner Jerry Reinsdorf and Blackhawks Chair Rocky Wirtz, who co-own the United Center, though it was "ultimately unworkable because of the lack of playing dates and practice times and for graduations" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 5/17). In Chicago, Fran Spielman reports McPier officials, whose agency owns McCormick Place, "pegged annual operating costs at $3.7 million and estimated that the rent and non-logo-related concessions from DePaul games -- which go to McPier -- would cover one-third of that" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 5/17).
DEAL DOUBTER: In Chicago, John Kass asks, "Why push for a DePaul basketball arena at McCormick Place?" That is "nowhere near the DePaul campus," and students would "have to take public transportation or drive, and then shell out cash to park." Kass writes of Emanuel's plan to build a casino in the city, "I don't think this has anything to do with basketball. Rahm needs that basketball arena as a music venue to make the casino work" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 5/17). A CHICAGO TRIBUNE editorial states Navy Pier and McCormick Place are the "twin engines of Chicago's tourism business," and the improvements announced by Emanuel with his "Elevate Chicago" plan are "crucial to the city's ambitions." But the arena is a "somewhat tougher sell." It is "clearly a good deal for DePaul," but "what do Chicago taxpayers get?" McPier CEO Jim Reilly estimated that the arena would "break even in its first year and net $1 million by year five." DePaul would "book the venue for 17 home games for its men's team and another 10 for the women's team, plus practices, graduation and other events." Emanuel stressed that the city also would "have use of the facility for school and sports events." The editorial: "If the venue is going to pay for itself, though, it's going to need a calendar crowded with bigger ticket events" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 5/17).