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Wintrust Arena at McCormick Square, previously referred to as DePaul Arena or McCormick Place Events Center,[6] is a 10,387-seat sports venue in Chicago's Near South Side community area that opened in 2017. It is the current home court for the men's and women's basketball teams of DePaul University and serves as an events center for McCormick Place. It also is the home of the Chicago Sky of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA).[7]

Wintrust Arena
20180522 Wintrust Arena (2).jpg
Wintrust Arena in May 2018
Location200 East Cermak Road, Chicago, Illinois 60616
Coordinates41°51′11″N 87°37′20″W / 41.852997°N 87.622194°W / 41.852997; -87.622194Coordinates: 41°51′11″N 87°37′20″W / 41.852997°N 87.622194°W / 41.852997; -87.622194
Public transit at Cermak–McCormick Place
OwnerMetropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority[1]
OperatorMetropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority[1]
Broke groundNovember 16, 2015
OpenedOctober 14, 2017; 23 months ago (2017-10-14)
Construction cost$173 million[1]
ArchitectPelli Clarke Pelli Architects[1][3]
Moody Nolan, Inc. (architect of record)
AECOM (sports architect)
Services engineerIMEG Corp.[4]
General contractorClark Construction[5]
DePaul Blue Demons men's basketball (NCAA) (2017–present)
DePaul Blue Demons women's basketball (NCAA) (2017–present)
Chicago Sky (WNBA) (2018–present)
Chicago Ballers (JBA) (2018–present)

The arena was announced in May 2013, with construction planned to begin in 2014, and use expected to begin with the 2016–17 season.[8] The start of construction was delayed to November 2015, with completion delayed until the 2017–18 season. Although DePaul had been seeking a new home arena — it used Allstate Arena in suburban Rosemont starting 1980 — it rejected a November 2012 ten-year offer to play rent free at the United Center.[8] Instead, DePaul planned to use Allstate Arena on a recurring one-year basis until it had a new home.[8] On November 16, 2016, DePaul and the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA or "McPier") announced that the new event center at McCormick Square would be called Wintrust Arena. The announcement came after the signing of a letter of intent that contemplated a definitive 15-year sponsorship agreement between DePaul and Wintrust.[9]

Planned constructionEdit

At the outset there were two different interpretations of the planned venue. ESPN has interpreted the plan as a 10,000-seat arena with a cost to tax payers of $103 million and total cost of $175 million. The Chicago Sun-Times has interpreted the plan as a 12,000-seat arena with public funding of $125 million out of a total spend $300 million.

Original 12,000-seat planEdit

Before the actual announcement, the arena was publicized by the Chicago Sun-Times as a 12,000-seat arena that would cost $300 million.[10] After the announcement, the Chicago Sun-Times reported an expected 12,000-seat venue, but with $125 million coming from public funds.[11]

10,000-seat planEdit

Upon announcement, ESPN reported the expected cost of the 10,000-seat arena, located on Cermak Road between Indiana and Prairie Avenue, across the street from McCormick Place was $173 million.[8] The funding came from three sources: $70 million from the university, $70 million from a McPier bond fund and $33 million from public taxes (e.e., $103 million from public funds).[8] It was built to host concerts, conventions and other events in addition to DePaul Basketball games.[12] As the building approached completion, its capacity was announced as 10,387 seats for basketball.[2]


The decision for public participation in the funding of DePaul's athletic facility was controversial because it was announced 6 days prior to the Board of Education's decision to close 50 public schools due to a $1 billion deficit.[13] When the Chicago City Council approved funding on July 24, 2013, the Chicago Reader reported the vote as though money was taken from the schools and spent on the arena because the spending plan included $68 million in budget cuts for the Chicago Public Schools.[14][15] The Chicago Tribune revealed that the land for the project had not yet been acquired four days after the City Hall funding vote.[16]


Wintrust Arena under construction in August 2016

On November 16, 2015, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, officials from DePaul University and McCormick Place attended the ceremonial groundbreaking for the center.[17][18] At the time of the groundbreaking, the construction was expected to result in a 10,000-seat venue at the corner of Cermak Road and Indiana Avenue and expected to be completed at some time in 2017.[19] At the time, the DePaul Athletics department expected the 2017–18 DePaul Blue Demons to be able to host their season opener at the venue,[20] but the venue was expected to double as an events center for McCormick Place.[18] The Center was expected to create 7,400 construction jobs and 2,500 permanent jobs.[18]

The city issued a "new construction" building permit to McPier on March 23, 2016,[21] for the full building. Previously issued permits allowed the construction of foundations and shear walls.


After being referred to as both DePaul Arena and McCormick Place Events Center,[19] MPEA and DePaul announced a 15-year naming rights agreement for the complex with Wintrust Financial under the name Wintrust Arena on November 16, 2016.[22]

On July 25, 2017, MPEA announced that it had reached a five-year agreement with the Chicago Sky to play their home games at the arena starting with all 17 home games for the 2018 WNBA season after having played the previous eight seasons at Allstate Arena.[2] The arena's first event was a concert by REO Speedwagon on September 25 that was reserved for attendees of the annual convention of the True Value hardware company.[23] The opening ceremony was held on October 14, 2017, with the event also featuring the season-opening practices for the 2017–18 DePaul men's and women's teams.[24] The first major public event (a concert featuring Bob Dylan and Mavis Staples) took place on October 27.[25] By that time, the arena had been announced as the host of the Big East Women's Basketball Tournament for 2018–2020.[26]

The arena was used for some Junior Basketball Association games for the inaugural 2018 JBA season, especially some games holding the Chicago Ballers franchise. However, it did not hold the 2018 JBA All-Star Event/Game.

The arena housed the primary panel stage for the Star Wars Celebration held in Chicago in 2019.[27] From the stage in the arena, cast and crew revealed first looks at franchise productions including Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and The Mandalorian, and featured celebrity guests including Stephen Colbert, J.J. Abrams, Daisy Ridley, Billy Dee Williams, Jon Favreau, and Pedro Pascal.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot was inaugurated at the arena on May 20, 2019.[28]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d Bergen, Kathy (September 24, 2013). "Design Selected for DePaul Arena Near McCormick Place". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 19, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Ryan, Shannon (July 25, 2017). "Sky will play next season at new Wintrust Arena in South Loop". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 26, 2017.
  3. ^ "Wintrust Arena / Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects". Retrieved April 25, 2018.
  4. ^ "Wintrust Arena at McCormick Square". IMEG Corp. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  5. ^ "Wintrust Arena". Clark Construction. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  6. ^ "New Pictures of the McCormick Place Event Center/DePaul Arena". June 10, 2014. Retrieved September 19, 2014.
  7. ^ "Mayor Emanuel Joins Chicago Sky to Announce Team's Move to Wintrust Arena". (Press release). NBA Media Ventures, LLC. February 2, 2018. Retrieved May 25, 2018.
  8. ^ a b c d e Brennan, Eamonn (May 16, 2013). "Chicago Reveals DePaul Arena Plans". ESPN. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
  9. ^ "Event Center at McCormick Square to be named Wintrust Arena" (Press release). DePaul University Department of Athletics. November 16, 2016. Retrieved November 17, 2016.
  10. ^ Korecki, Natasha; Spielman, Fran & Sneed, Michael (May 13, 2013). "Emanuel to Announce $300 Million DePaul Stadium Plan for McCormick Place". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
  11. ^ Spielman, Fran & Korecki, Natasha (May 14, 2013). "TIF, Hotel Taxes Could Help Pay for Planned McCormick Place Arena". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
  12. ^ Ecker, Danny. "McPier approves new DePaul arena design". Crain's Chicago Business.
  13. ^ Strauss, Ben (June 23, 2013). "Critics Say Chicago Shouldn't Aid DePaul Arena With Schools Closing". The New York Times. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
  14. ^ Johnson, Raphielle (August 1, 2013). "Project That Includes a New Arena for DePaul More Complicated Than Anticipated". NBC Sports. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
  15. ^ Joravsky, Ben (August 1, 2013). "Meigs Field II—the City Council Very Quietly Passes Mayor Rahm's DePaul Basketball Arena Deal". Chicago Reader. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
  16. ^ Bergen, Kathy; Ruthhart, Bill (July 28, 2013). "South Loop land deals at the corner of business and politics: City, McPier will buy property for DePaul arena from 3 owners who have deep civic ties". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
  17. ^ "Morning Spin: Rauner lays out rules, suggests talking points for meeting with Madigan, leaders". Chicago Tribune. November 16, 2015. Retrieved November 20, 2015.
  18. ^ a b c Spielman, Fran (November 16, 2015). "TIF flap forgotten as mayor breaks ground on DePaul basketball arena". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved November 20, 2015.
  19. ^ a b "Officials break ground on McCormick Place Event Center". WLS. Chicago. November 16, 2015. Retrieved November 20, 2015.
  20. ^ "Blue Demon Freshmen Envision Historic Change". DePaul University Department of Athletics. November 18, 2015. Retrieved November 20, 2015.
  21. ^ "New construction building permit #100641093". Chicago Cityscape. March 23, 2016. Retrieved March 27, 2016.
  22. ^ Ecker, Danny (November 16, 2016). "DePaul strikes arena naming rights deal with Wintrust". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved November 17, 2016.
  23. ^ Schutz, Paris (September 25, 2017). "Wintrust Arena at McCormick Place Opens". Chicago Tonight. WTTW. Retrieved December 10, 2017.
  24. ^ "Wntrust Arena Open House- Saturday October 14, 2017". DePaul University. Retrieved December 10, 2017.
  25. ^ Matthews, David (October 16, 2017). "DePaul Opens Wintrust Arena 'To Bring Successful Basketball Back' To City". DNAinfo. Retrieved October 31, 2017.
  26. ^ "BIG EAST Signs Multi-Year Deal With Wintrust Arena To Host Women's Basketball Tournament" (Press release). Big East Conference. October 17, 2017. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  27. ^ Whalen, Andrew (April 12, 2019). "WATCH 'STAR WARS: EPISODE IX' TRAILER LIVESTREAM FROM CELEBRATION IN CHICAGO". Newsweek. Retrieved April 22, 2019.
  28. ^ Tarm, Michael (May 21, 2019). "1st black woman sworn in as Chicago mayor; vows big reforms". AP NEWS. Retrieved May 21, 2019.

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