Wintrust Arena Seat Selection Tips Off New Era of DePaul Basketball
May 26, 2017
CHICAGO -- A highly anticipated new era of DePaul Blue Demon basketball got off to a bright and promising start earlier this week at the Sullivan Athletic Center.
A select group of the most passionate and generous supporters had the opportunity to select their seats in the new home of DePaul hoops, Wintrust Arena in the heart of the South Loop.
You could feel the excitement as the Blue Demons return to the city after a 37-year run in suburban Rosemont. On Monday through Wednesday from early in the morning `til late at night, benefactors and die-hard fans participated in an event that was a cross between a telethon and the NFL Draft.
Once settled in and after being greeted by DePaul Athletics Director Jean Lenti Ponsetto, men's basketball coach Dave Leitao and women's basketball coach Doug Bruno, they had 10 minutes to look at the seating board, experience the 3-D seat view technology online and check out the various angles and sight lines from the arena seats. There was a virtual reality display where it feels like you're in the arena.
After that, it was five minutes on the clock just like the NFL Draft. You could talk to ticket representatives if you had any questions. Next, you went to the seat-selection area and made your choice. That seat would come off the board and be marked as sold.
"People were laughing and enjoying the entire experience," said ticket director Marty Murphy. "It was great to see folks locking up four, six sometimes more seats for both the men's and women's programs.
"Quite a few men's basketball fans wanted to support the women as well. We're going to have more season tickets for the women's team than ever before."
The ticket office had a phone bank set up in the Hall of Fame Foyer to accommodate those who made seat selections after viewing the seating board and 3-D view online.
"It was a really cool three days," Murphy said. "Fans seemed genuinely excited about the future. It's only May and we're all talking basketball when the first game is still six months away. All the recent good news about the future of the program and playing Downtown in a new arena generated so much interest in person and on the phone.
"It was reassuring to see the numbers coming through so early. This was just the first wave. Next are those people who put down deposits but didn't activate their loyalty points. There's also longtime alumni, recent graduates, faculty and staff and current season ticketholders who will choose their seats in early June.
"There's a buzz about DePaul basketball being back in the city. Social media has been lighting up with fans posting their seat locations and their friends wanting to get in on the action. After the next wave in early June, season tickets go on sale to the general public after the Fourth of July."
It won't be easy topping the optimistic enthusiasm of this week.
"We've never done this before," Murphy said. "The fans were so fired up those last three days that some asked if they could have their season tickets as they walked out the door. I smiled and told them they had to wait until the basketball schedule is finalized. I can't wait to bring them into the building to meet their seats.
"There are the longtime fans who had seats at Alumni Hall and Allstate Arena. There are all our alumni who live Downtown and all our new neighbors in the South Loop who are getting really excited about the atmosphere with new restaurants, hotels and businesses popping up in their community.
"Everyone wants to join in on this new Downtown adventure."
As enthusiasm for an up-and-coming Blue Demon team and the unique opportunity to christen a brand-new, state-of-the-art arena spreads throughout the city and suburbs, ticket demand will intensify.
"Everyone I talk to is really passionate about opening the season against Notre Dame," Murphy said. "There's no better way to open your building than against a storied rival who could be in the preseason Top 25. That is a hot ticket on Nov. 11, and the only way to guarantee a seat is purchasing a season-ticket package.
"Playing rivals like Notre Dame and Northwestern is great, and now folks are asking me about tickets to the Illinois game. Season ticketholders will have access to away-game tickets. Judging from the reaction so far, we're going to have a good caravan for the Illini game.
"Don't wait too long as a lot of great seats have already been snapped up. The courtside seats, 100 level prime and a majority of the club level one seats are going really fast."
Murphy said the seat-selection event was a great team effort featuring Bob Krawchuk and Jillian Domin of the ticket office, Thad Dohrn and Sean McDonough from Athletics Development along with Katie Ramsey and the events staff.
"These were the coolest three days in the ticket office and the greatest run we've ever had," Murphy said. "I got to see so many season ticketholders and talk about hoops.
"This was only the beginning of filling up the arena and painting the town blue. We didn't play in March Madness, but we've got May Madness at DePaul. I can't even wait `til June."
Now is the time to opt-in for season tickets as Wintrust Arena opens its doors in fall 2017 for DePaul men's and women's basketball. Those who place $25 per season ticket deposits by June 1, 2017 will be able to select their seat location before sales open to the general public this summer. General public season tickets go on sale July 5, 2017. DePaul basketball season ticket holders will also have the first right to purchase tickets at Wintrust Arena for non-DePaul basketball events. For more information on season tickets and premium seating options contact the DePaul ticket office at (773) 325-7526 or visit the Online Ticket Office.
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