DePaul men's basketball needs a 'home' court advantage
Leaving the Allstate for an arena closer to home might improve Blue Demon spirit
Published: Saturday, April 14, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08
Walking around the Lincoln Park campus, I’ve noticed that DePaul is still finding ways to develop new buildings for the years to come. The DePaul campus is beginning to look like a construction site with all the dirt mountains and bulldozers in the area. With the latest addition of the DePaul Art Museum and the Arts and Letters Hall, you might ask what more could they be building?
And still, the construction continues on a new Theatre School building. But the facility that should have been built years ago has yet to go up, and that’s a new arena for the DePaul men’s basketball team — one closer to campus.
Most students can count on one hand how many times they’ve been to a men’s basketball game at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill. Why? Because it is not convenient. For someone who loves basketball, I was expecting to be at all the basketball games and have the school spirit that I see on television when other Division 1 teams’ home arenas are packed to capacity. But when your team plays 30 minutes away, and the only way to get there is to load up in buses, it sort of takes away from the appeal.
Oftentimes home games don’t even feel like home games because DePaul can barely get a few thousand people to fill up the seats. At the New Year’s Day game between the DePaul Blue Demons and Syracuse Orangemen, there were more Syracuse fans than DePaul fans. That’s embarrassing. The sheer fact that more people traveled from the East Coast to support their team than from 30 minutes away should set off alarm bells. DePaul has a school spirit problem, and there is only one way to fix it.
What gets a team motivated to win is the school’s support from fellow students, and building an at-home arena would surely strengthen DePaul’s fan base, thus encouraging players. If there was an arena closer to campus, without a doubt, a lot more students would be inclined to go to the games. This would inevitably make Blue Demon fans a more powerful force.
With the university’s contract up with Allstate Arena in 2015, the only problem now becomes figuring out where to fit an entirely new arena, and how DePaul could possibly finance such an endeavor.
“The River North area would be a good spot. There’s a lot of gentrification going on over there. They just knock down all the projects so there’s space,” said senior Mike Corbett.
“There are three ‘L’ stops for students to take to that area, the Chicago and Sedgwick stops on the brown line, plus the North and Clybourn stop on the red line,” Corbett said.
This would end the recruiting and competing disadvantages we have now because the home arena would not be so far away from the school. More talented Chicago-bred basketball players would see DePaul as an attractive destination because they could have their family come up north and watch their child represent Chicago the right way.
The university would definitely benefit from the addition of a new arena that DePaul could call its own. It can make revenue from the sporting events that could be held at the arena and create the enthusiasm, school pride and spirit that was always needed. Even if it is just up for discussion as of now, building a new arena closer to campus would only improve the DePaul student experience.