Another South Side Stadium Will Fly a Financial Flag

Fifteen days after the White Sox ballpark officially became Guaranteed Rate Field, another nearby sporting palace has gotten a new name.  The DePaul University basketball arena, formerly known as the McCormick Place Events Center, will now be known as the Wintrust Arena.

Rendering of Wintrust Arena, with the new Wintrust Arena sign on it (Courtesy of DePaul Athletics)

Rendering of Wintrust Arena, with the new Wintrust Arena sign on it (Courtesy of DePaul Athletics)

It’s hardly the first time that a home-grown financial powerhouse has used sports to leave national audiences scratching their heads.  In addition to the Guaranteed Rate Field, announced back in August, when the Cubs were playing the World Series against the Indians this year, Google searches for Nuveen spiked because of its outfield signage.

The deal appears to take effect immediately, since temporary Wintrust Arena signs are already up on the yet-to-be-completed building.  It runs until 2031, which sounds like a pretty good date to finally have our flying cars.   DePaul, itself, is leasing the arena from the McPier quango until 2067, by which time the robot overlords will have taken over and enslaved  us all.

How much DePaul is getting from the deal isn’t known, but Crain’s Chicago Business talked to some experts in the field who put it at about $22 million.

According to tweets posted on Twitter back in August, Wintrust tried to get the naming rights to the former U.S. Cellular Field, but the Sox went with Guaranteed Rate, instead.

Press release follows:

CHICAGO – Wintrust Financial Corporation – Chicago’s leading community and corporate banking company – DePaul University, and the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA), today announced that the new event center at McCormick Square will be called Wintrust Arena. The announcement comes after the signing of a letter of intent that contemplates a definitive 15-year sponsorship agreement between DePaul and Wintrust.

“As Chicago’s Bank, we try to align with the iconic brands, organizations and institutions that make this city what it is. DePaul University and McCormick Place fit right into that,” said Wintrust President & CEO Edward J. Wehmer. “Sponsoring DePaul’s new arena is both a great way for us to increase our presence in the city and a great way to help revitalize a historic Chicago district. We’re proud to be involved with the project.”

Upon completion in fall of 2017, Wintrust Arena will be home to DePaul University men’s and women’s basketball, and is planned to become a prominent Chicago venue for concerts, sporting events, meetings and conventions, family-friendly shows and other major special events.

“DePaul is grateful to have found an ideal naming rights partner in Wintrust – a company deeply rooted in the city of Chicago,” said the Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., president of DePaul University. “We are excited to see the Wintrust Arena come to life over the next year, and ultimately, bring DePaul basketball back to Chicago.”

Located at South Indiana Avenue and East Cermak Road, Wintrust Arena will be part of a lively entertainment district that includes new dining and entertainment options, hotels and vibrant streetscapes. The diverse programming and location of the new entertainment and sports venue will bring additional tourism for local businesses and help ensure long-term economic growth for the neighboring communities.

“We are thrilled to welcome Wintrust to McCormick Square,” said Lori Healey, CEO of MPEA. “Wintrust Arena will be a game-changer for our McCormick Square campus, allowing us to compete for new events and activities, creating new jobs and economic opportunities for Chicago and the entire state of Illinois.”

With a large network of local banks, Wintrust has a deep commitment to the communities it serves throughout Chicago. Wintrust’s banks are involved with many local chambers of commerce, and are active in local charities, local government, school boards and community development activities. Wintrust also supports communities through numerous events and sponsorships.

Wintrust’s philanthropic activities will be augmented with new community initiatives in partnership with DePaul. Examples include Wintrust Reads and Wintrust Field Trip Days in conjunction with Chicago Public Schools, and Wintrust Blankets Chicago, which donates blankets to Chicago-area community service organizations.

“Not only are we excited to partner with Wintrust on the naming rights of Wintrust Arena, but the impact of its support of our community service initiatives that benefit Chicago’s youth and residents will be seen for years to come,” said Jean Lenti Ponsetto, DePaul’s athletics director. “Our goal when this process started was to find a Chicago-based partner that holds similar beliefs and values to DePaul University, and we feel we’ve accomplished that goal with Wintrust Arena.”

DePaul also plans to hold its academic convocation and commencement ceremonies at the new arena.

The 10,387-seat venue will feature 22 suites, 479 club seats, two VIP club lounges and the Demon Deck, a designated section for DePaul students with a close-up view of the on-court action. Amenities will include state-of-the-art technology, multiple locker rooms, sports medicine areas and training facilities.

The building’s distinct architecture will complement the surrounding area. The sleek glass facade provides a clear view of the energy and action happening inside the event center, while smooth undulating arcs on the roof rise upward, making the center instantly recognizable in the Chicago skyline.

The architecture is based on the original work of internationally renowned firm Pelli Clarke Pelli and completed by the award-winning firm, Moody Nolan, which served as the primary architect. Based in Columbus, Ohio, with offices in Chicago, Moody Nolan is the largest African American owned and managed architecture firm in the country. Clark Construction Company is the general contractor for the project.

For more information on the progress of the project, visit

Location: 2130 South Prairie Avenue, South Loop

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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