Wintrust Arena opened to the public on Saturday with an official ribbon cutting ceremony, behind-the-scenes tours and practices for DePaul's men's and women's basketball teams. As the latest addition to the McCormick Square community, which also recently unveiled the new Marriott Marquis Chicago hotel, Wintrust Arena presents a state-of-the-art entertainment center in Chicago's South Loop.
The arena is the newest home to DePaul University men's and women's basketballs teams, as well as Chicago's WNBA team, the Chicago Sky.
"After nearly 40 years, Blue Demon basketball is back where it belongs, in the City of Chicago," said Dr. A. Gabriel Esteban, president of DePaul. "We're honored to work with Wintrust Bank and MPEA to complete this first-class arena and welcome our neighbors to a venue that is sure to bring excitement and school spirit back to the city."
The arena also will serve as a venue for concerts, large-scale meetings and other events that complement the conventions taking place on the McCormick Square campus. With 10,000 seats and 22 suites, Wintrust Arena is both an intimate and state-of-the-art venue intended to better connect the near South Side and city at large through sports and entertainment.
"After months of construction and anticipation, we are pleased to finally open Wintrust Arena to the public on time and on budget," said Lori Healey, CEO of Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority. "This arena has been a much-anticipated feature for our campus, the DePaul community and neighborhood as a whole and we're excited to bring this new offering to our clients and generate another economic boost in our city and state."
According to a recent economic impact study by the University of Illinois at Chicago and funded by the MPEA, new additions like the Wintrust Arena are estimated to bring more than $9 billion dollars in economic benefit to the City of Chicago and State of Illinois through 2018.
The arena will serve as a further catalyst for economic development of the historic Motor Row along South Michigan Avenue and other surrounding neighborhoods. It was made possible through a public-private partnership between the MPEA and DePaul, and is named for the Wintrust Financial Corporation, which bought the naming rights in 2016.
"As Chicago's bank, we try to align with the organizations and institutions that make this city what it is. DePaul University and McCormick Square fit right into that," said Wintrust President & CEO Edward J. Wehmer. "We're thrilled to finally welcome Chicago into this new arena and contribute to the revitalization of a historic Chicago district."
The ribbon cutting featured opportunities for the public and surrounding neighbors to tour the facility and get a first look at the newest fixture on Chicago's South Side. It included public practices by the DePaul men's and women's basketball teams, as well as behind-the-scenes access to the suites and arena and remarks by MPEA, DePaul, Wintrust and a representative of Alderman Pat Dowell.
Ahead of the opening weekend of Blue Demon basketball, DePaul and the rock band Chicago will hold a special event to celebrate the opening of Wintrust Arena. Known as the legendary rock and roll band with horns, Chicago's benefit concert for the DePaul community is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m.
To buy tickets, faculty, staff and students should use the code "CHICAGOTIX" at the DePaul Online Ticket Office
or contact the DePaul Ticket Office at 773-325-SLAM (7526) during regular office hours (Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.).