LINCOLN PARK — DePaul University Thursday announced that the school considered 12 locations for a new basketball arena before deciding on a 10,000-seat arena next to McCormick Place West.
The naming rights on the stadium will also be up to the university, meaning it could be a showdown between the highest bidding corporation and a deep-pocketed alumni.
The naming rights for a stadium of this size are about $1 million a year, according to a spokesman for Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
The multi-purpose events center, which will serve as the Blue Demons' new home, will include 22 suites and 300 club seats along with locker room and other "first-class" facilities.
DePaul considered the United Center as an option, but contrary to media reports, it was not a free rent deal, according to Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, the university's president.
Holtschneider thanked Jerry Reinsdorf and Rocky Wirtz for their offer, which was "not free," he said, "but it was a gracious deal."
A key reason the university decided against the United Center was that conflicting events at the Bulls' and Blackhawks' home would have made it an inconvenient practice space for DePaul basketball.
Both the men's and women's teams will practice at the new arena.
"Our goal is to build internally a first-rate collegiate program," Holtschneider said.
He said the $70 million the school will be contributing will come from Big East TV rights fees and other sources of income, and would not cause a hike in tuition.
The school will also have naming rights on the facility.
The men's and women's basketball teams are expected to play their first games in the new stadium during the 2016-2017 season.
The men's team will play 17 games in the stadium and the women's will likely play 10, according to DePaul.
“This facility will bring the Blue Demons much closer to the largest segment of our fan base and will add significantly to the momentum that our basketball programs have been building in recent years,” Holtschneider said.
The team has played it's men's basketball games at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill., since 1980.
Construction on the new facility located north of Cermak Road between Indiana and Prairie Avenues is expected to begin in 2014.
The construction of the new facility will be part of a larger plan that includes two new hotels near McCormick place, a 1,200-room "headquarters hotel," and a 500-room boutique hotel.