Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 2/9/13
  Over the last year or so, there has been a lot of talk about the DePaul Men’s Basketball program getting a new arena closer to campus. Before we talk about a new DePaul basketball arena, let us travel back in time for moment….. Since the program first began in the 1920′s, DePaul had always had a home in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. Their first home was the university auditorium, but it wasn’t exactly made for athletics. Then in 1956, the legendary Alumni Hall opened and that’s when the program began it’s rise to college basketball stardom.   DePaul called Alumni Hall it’s full-time home between 1956 and 1980. Between 1980 and 1984, DePaul played it’s nationally televised games at the Allstate Arena {formally the Rosemont Horizon}. Then from 1984-1997, the Demons played select games in Rosemont while playing the rest of it’s schedule at Alumni Hall. Then from 1997-2000, the Blue Demons played it’s non-conference schedule at Alumni Hall and it’s conference games at Allstate Arena. During the summer of 2000 Alumni Hall was demolished to make way for a new DePaul University student union.   Photo Courtesy of DePaul University But the Demons would not be left homeless as the new McGrath-Phillips Arena was built right around the corner on Sheffield Avenue.   Photo Courtesy of DePaul University As beautiful as the new building is, the men’s program had completely outgrown the 5,000 seat facility by this time. So McGrath-Phillips was only used for practice and exhibition games. Since 2000, DePaul Men’s Basketball has called the Allstate Arena it’s full-time home. Today, a new DePaul basketball arena is needed.   It seems like a perfect fit for a program which now has a full-time radio deal, and finds a way to get all of it’s game’s televised. It seats roughly 18,000, it has all the bells and whistles, and the City of Rosemont has done a fine job of keeping it running. In 2012, the arena upgraded it’s jumbotron which hangs over the arena floor. It also replaced the advertisements that hang underneath the upper deck seats and replaced it with an LED scroll banner as most venue’s have today. While it may seem like a good deal, it does have it’s faults. For starters, it’s difficult for DePaul’s student body to make the 40 minute trip {in good traffic} from Lincoln Park. The University does provide shuttle bus service to some degree but it can’t transport everybody. Also, attendance has been down over the last couple seasons. Many have complained that the trip to Rosemont from the city can be difficult especially on weekday games when fans have to fight through rush hour traffic to get there. Another problem is that most fans don’t like paying to park at the Allstate Arena. And once the game is over, traffic leaving the stadium can get very congested. There are also complaints about the games that are played on weekends. Because DePaul shares Allstate Arena with the Chicago Wolves, and Chicago Rush, the latter teams get higher priority at the arena. Because of this, the Blue Demons are forced to play most of those games at 11am. And once the games are over, everyone is basically forced to evacuate the stadium so the floor crew can remove the basketball court and setup either the hockey rink or the football turf. This also forces fans, students, and other DePaul faithful to wake up earlier so they can get to the game on time. Any sellouts that DePaul has had in recent years has been due to the fact that the visiting teams have brought their fans in great numbers. DePaul fans have put their foot down recently. And it is for these issues that DePaul needs a new basketball arena. It seems like the university has finally started to make plans for a new and larger facility closer to campus. There haven’t been any formal details announced yet. But here is some unconfirmed information that has been released so far: 1. The university is looking put the arena either somewhere downtown or near McCormick Place. Both of these areas are very accessible for public transportation from the university. 2. The venue would seat at least 10,000 because of the size of the program. It would also include luxury suites and possibly a press box. 3. It would be modeled to some degree after both Loyola’s Gentile Center and Chicago State’s Convocation Center. 4. It would have state of the art features as most arenas do. 5. The university is also looking to have some sort of parking facility either on the property or near the new building. Again these are just ideas and nothing is set in stone yet. But it looks like DePaul University is on the right track to providing a proper home for it’s basketball program.   The post A new DePaul basketball arena is needed! appeared first on The Sports Bank.Net.
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