The Chicago Blackhawks are a founding member of the National Hockey League (NHL) and a squad with legions of fans. The team plays its home games in the United Center, a building named for United Airlines, the corporation that owns the naming rights.
The Blackhawks, in business for nearly a century, have played in other buildings with different names. For instance, their long-time home was Chicago Stadium, also known as “the Madhouse on Madison.” This building was demolished in 1994 when the United Center opened its gates to customers for the first time.
Importantly, the Chicago Blackhawks are not the only full time tenant in the United Center. The Chicago Bulls of the National Basketball Association (NBA) are co-tenants with the hockey club. Lots of seating in the arena is proof enough that this venue is profitable for both teams.
The Blackhawks are able to “skate and score” before crowds that can top out at nineteen thousand seven hundred seventeen fans, twenty-two thousand four hundred twenty-eight fans when Standing Room tickets are sold. The Chicago Bulls play their games in front of twenty thousand nine hundred seventeen basketball fans.
Graphic via wikipedia
The biggest crowds that pay to get into the United Center are those that come to see concerts. A full house can reach as high as twenty three thousand five hundred fans. Given the fact that Chicago has a sizable population which makes every concert a potential sell-out, many top acts choose to perform in “the Windy City” or in the building where music is often magical, the United Center.
Big city, comfortable arena with room for lots of customers, fan bases for just about every professional and college sport, for all kinds of non-sport entertainment, too – add it all up and it becomes clear that the United Center is a very important venue.
That, of course, is the absolute truth. In addition to professional ice hockey and basketball, the arena is also home to such events as the University of Illinois Men’s Basketball, the Big Ten Collegiate Basketball Tournament, PRB Bull Riding events, Disney on Ice family entertainment, numerous World Wrestling Entertainment live programs, the Barnum & Bailey Circus, even political conventions.
If you’re old enough to remember, you know that the 1968 Democratic Convention was held in Chicago, but the 1996 Democratic Convention took place in the United Center.
Few arenas anywhere in the United States are as active and busy as the United Center. Then again, it is the biggest-by-size arena in all of the United States.
It may be just one of many reasons why the Chicago Bulls and the Chicago Blackhawks decided years ago to become co-owners of this very successful sports and entertainment arena.
There seems to be little that can stop the continued growth and development of Chicago’s United Center.
Graphic via cbslocal