DePaul's in the market for a new basketball arena. Currently they're way out at the Allstate Arena, next to the airport, but they'd really like to be closer to campus, or at least somewhere in Chicago. Rocky Wirtz and (especially) Jerry Reinsdorf want them to make the United Center their home, and they're making the deal as sweet as possible.
According to Crain's Chicago Business, ownership made a presentation to DePaul, and offered:
• A customized court to add DePaul and Big East logos and decals for games.
• A DePaul team store.
• The Bulls' staff would help the school sell tickets.
• The Blue Demons would get to use the Bulls' locker room.
• DePaul would get to hang its banners in the arena.
• The school gets the United Center free for fundraising events.
• Best of all, 10 years of free rent.
DePaul's other option is to come up with $75 million to help build its own arena. The United Center's deal is looking pretty cushy.
The crazy part is, Jerry Reinsdorf doesn't even particularly want DePaul games. But it's worth it to him just to block the competition. The university's first-choice is a new 12,000-seat arena, as part of a development on Chicago's near South Side. Reinsdorf reportedly fears that the United Center would stand to lose out on concert and convention business if the arena gets built—and the project needs DePaul to get started.
Crain's reports that DePaul is still leaning toward the new arena, because it would prefer to own rather than rent, and because it wouldn't run up against scheduling conflicts. Still, sometimes it's nice to be a pawn in the schemes of rich people. DePaul's not the only Big East program to learn that lesson.