Beauty and DePaul’s Basketball Beast

New Depaul Arena Mccormick Place

DePaul and the city of Chicago are partnering to build a “large-scale tourism and economic development project” near McCormick place that will be home to DePaul’s men’s and women’s basketball programs. The city of Chicago will contribute $100 million, and DePaul will donate $70 million in order to make this plan a reality. The blueprints include street-level restaurants and shops, a 400-room hotel, an elevated pedestrian walkway, and will hopefully create 3,000- 5,000 permanent jobs and 5,000 additional construction jobs. DePaul also gains naming rights, income from DePaul ticket sales, and revenue from the Big East Conference.

This collaborative effort has been controversial since the city of Chicago does not appear to be in a financial place to make this sort of business move. As an example from recent news, 50 Chicago public schools are closing both due to lack of enrollment and for cost-cutting purposes.

DePaul’s basketball program is not exactly a powerhouse, and game attendance continues to dwindle. This facility will be closer to campus than the current Allstate Arena location, but it will still be 50 blocks away which doesn’t make the proximity ideal. To make matters worse, the United Center offered DePaul the option to benefit from 10 years of free rent plus all ticket revenues, but DePaul declined the proposal. As tuition continues to rise, many students question whether this is the way they feel their precious money should be spent. City representatives claim that the arena will break even the first year, but the numbers used to create these predictions seem to be optimistic and unrealistic.

On the other hand, a project like this could create jobs, further stimulate tourism, and increase tax revenue which could possibly strengthen the city of Chicago which has been struggling. “The majority of the money the city plans to put toward the construction is coming from the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, which is a separate entity from the city of Chicago. This basically means the MPEA cannot use its resources to help avoid the struggling school system as its sole purpose is to expand Navy Pier and McCormick Place, which are two of the most frequented spots by tourists.” (Fox News) The new arena also offers DePaul an opportunity to rebuild their basketball program by encouraging a higher caliber of athletes that will be enticed by the top-notch facility.

What were your thoughts when you received the e-mail announcement about this new “partnership” from President Holtschneider? Do you think this is a good investment for DePaul? Do you think that it will help DePaul’s basketball program in both attendance and recruiting? Do you think this project will benefit the City of Chicago in the long run?

Sources: http://college-

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7 thoughts on “Beauty and DePaul’s Basketball Beast

  1. I don’t think the arena will benefit DePaul that much because the whole issue to begin with was that the arena was far away so it stopped people from attending the events. I agree it would help generate revenue for the school but seeing that we are investing millions to the arena for a location not even on school grounds seems a bit excessive. It could benefit the City of Chicago in the long run but again, if we are building it as a school, we should have more benefits for students that attend the school.

  2. I think DePaul was pretty much backed into a corner. $70 million of the project is a small amount considering the various benefits to the school. Is it still far away from campus? Yeah, it isn’t the best location as far as the school is concerned, but it is more accessible via public transportation than Allstate Arena.

    I think this was a poor choice in timing by the City of Chicago. Traffic problems already plague this stretch of town, and the stretch of town on I90/94 to Allstate and O’Hare. If they are going to spend money on infrastructure, they should be spending money on widening highways to help traffic flow rather than building another amusement facility. Also, the Mayor should expect some serious continued bad press considering the fate of the 50 schools closing this summer.

  3. You mean to tell me that a deal with the United Center was declined??? Now they plan to give up 70 million for a new stadium? First of all, the decline of any deal with the united center is ludicrous. Playing at the United Center alone would be enough to boost ticket sales, and revenues for the Blue Demon men and women’s teams. Its super close to campus, and down right awesome! I don’t I like the idea that my school is raising my tuition, while at the same time spending capacious amounts of money. In my opinion, if your going to spend money, at least some should go towards the advancement of the students.

  4. I think that the new investment would definitely benefit DePaul. One thing that we need to think more about is alumni money. The better recruitment to the sports program that would follow this new facility would definitely help to drive more money to the school and increase enrollment. In terms of how it will benefit the City of Chicago, this will bring more visitors to the area, bringing more money not only into the school for ticket sales, but to local restaurants and bars.

  5. I think the biggest miss that DePaul created, that you touched on, is the location. Being 50 blocks away to a college student might as well be 500 miles. Also, there was no mention of a new El stop for people to use, because McCormick place is not easy to get to via public transportation for college students or the general public.

    Just from a financial standpoint, they are completely missing the boat on use of the United Center. We are taught about NPV of a project, and it seems to me that if the large benefits are before the small costs, then it probably would be a worthwhile project.

    Overall, It seems like DePaul missed the mark on a number of things with this project… if it goes through.

  6. I think that the building of this arena is an interesting case for scholars, city planners and business professionals to look at. In theory I think we can all agree that the city is trying to boost their economy, create jobs and generate tax revenue in a part of the city that is not very successful. With that said, does the city really need another arena built and will it be able to gain profitability and generate the additional revenue and jobs projected? In all I think DePaul will benefit the most because they will have their own brand new facility to help entice top recruits and the opportunity to sell naming rights to the stadium. The only question is can the University and the athletic department turnaround their programs quickly enough to make this a good deal for the school and the city or just the school?

  7. I think this is very beneficial for DePaul and their basketball program. In order to contend and win in the Big East, DePaul needs to have a facility that will attract better recruits. Schools that have successful program tend to generate a lot of positive buzz and that leads to an increase in alumni donations as well as an increase in applications and enrollment. The location isn’t perfect but at least students won’t be forced to leave Chicago to go to the suburbs.

    I’m not sure if this new arena is beneficial to the city of Chicago. Like you mentioned in your post, Navy pier and McCormick place are the two most visited places by tourists. Even if they wouldn’t build the arena, people would still visit McCormick place and spend their money. The funds could have been used for other parts of the city that could really use it.

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