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DePaul Offered Free Rent To Move To United Center

By Chuck Sudo in News on Nov 19, 2012 9:45PM

Photo credit: Nick Suydam

Crain's Chicago Business' Greg Hinz reports on the latest wrinkle in DePaul's Moses-like quest for a stadium in Chicago to play basketball: 10 years of free rent and other perks to call the United Center home.

Per Hinz:

A copy of the PowerPoint presentation United Center ownership made to DePaul says that the United Center "would redesign its basketball floor to allow the two 'end zones' to be removable. For DePaul games, they would be replaced with 'DePaul,' 'Big East' or whatever is desired," with a large DePaul logo decal going over the Bulls' one at center court.

DePaul also would be allowed to hang its championship banners from the rafters, use the owners' and marketing suites, use the Bulls' locker room, install a Blue Demons store and have dedicated restaurant and other staff. And the Bulls would help DePaul sell tickets to its games, give Blue Demons season-ticket holders an early crack at concert tickets and let the team use the facility one night a year for free for "fundraising or other purposes."

Who knew a team that may not win five games in Big East play would be so sexy and in demand? Last week reports surfaced that DePaul was in talks with the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority about a lot north of McCormick Place that could be home to a 12,000 seat arena. McPier has the bonds to spend on building the arena and Mayor Rahm Emanuel is pushing for the proposal. But then Emanuel will likely be behind any proposal that brings the Blue Demons back inside Chicago city limits.

Hinz writes Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz are taking a vested interest in bringing DePaul to the United Center because drunk Blue Demons fans on the West side equals mo' money in concessions, and because a new arena near McCormick Place could be a competitor with the UC for non-sporting events.