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Chicago Sky signs deal to play at McCormick Place’s new Wintrust Arena

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After an eight-year stint at Rosemont’s Allstate Arena, Chicago’s WNBA team is moving back downtown

A rendering of the soon-to-open Pelli Clarke Pelli-designed event center.
McCormick Square

DePaul University’s Blue Demons won’t be the only basketball team to soon call McCormick Place’s upcoming Wintrust Arena home. The Chicago Sky, the Windy City’s WNBA team, will also relocate from the Allstate Arena in Rosemont to the new Near South Side venue. A five-year contract starting with the 2018 regular season has been signed between the team and Wintrust Arena’s owners—Chicago’s Metropolitan Pier & Exposition Authority (MPEA). Calling for 17 annual home games, the newly announced deal also includes a revenue sharing agreement, reports Danny Ecker of Crain’s.

Set to open in September, the Pelli Clarke Pelli-designed event space will feature over 10,300 seats and 22 high-tech suites beneath an undulating, ravioli-esque roofline. Not limited solely to basketball games, the venue is expected to host between 50 and 70 events a year, including conventions and concerts.

The Wintrust Arena joins the 1,205-room Marriott Marquis high-rise hotel to anchor a new McCormick Place entertainment district dubbed McCormick Square. The $164 million facility was co-financed by DePaul and the MPEA and was originally slated to receive a large amount of tax increment financing (TIF) money. Though these payments were instead allocated for the nearby Marriott hotel tower, the TIF funds ended up being secretly transferred to Chicago’s Navy Pier, alleges a recent report.

Pelli Clarke Pelli
McCormick Place Event Center webcam
Harry Carmichael