United Center

The United Center is an indoor sports arena located in the Near West Side community area of Chicago, Illinois. It is named after its corporate sponsor, United Airlines. The United Center is home to both the Chicago Blackhawks of the NHL and the Chicago Bulls of the NBA. The plan to build the arena was created by Bill Wirtz and Jerry Reinsdorf, the owners of the two sports teams, respectively. The United Center's predecessor was the indoor Chicago Stadium, the original "Madhouse on Madison", which was demolished after the newer arena opened for business on August 18, 1994. A statue of Michael Jordan is located on the east side of the arena. United Airlines pays about $1.8 million per year until 2014 for its naming rights.

Arena information

The United Center, which is currently owned by Rocky Wirtz and Reinsdorf, covers 960,000 square feet (89,187 m²) and is located on a 46 acre (19 ha) parcel, west of the Chicago Loop. The arena claims to be the largest in the United States in physical size, though not in capacity. Its exterior bears a striking resemblance to that of Chicago Stadium. It seats 20,500 (not including standing room) for hockey, 21,711 for basketball and up to 23,500 for concerts. Additionally, the United Center hosts over 200 events per year and has drawn over 20 million visitors since its opening.

United Center's acoustics were designed to amplify the noise level in order to recreate "The Roar" – the din of noise that made Chicago Stadium famous, especially during hockey games. During hockey season, an Allen Organ that is a replica of the old arena's famous Barton organ is used; recreating the old organ's notes took two years.

Coca-Cola took over pouring rights this season after having Pepsi as the official soft-drink of the Hawks and Bulls. Last year Anheuser-Busch replaced Miller as the official beer sponsor of both teams. Concession of food is run by Bismarck Enterprises, an entity of the Wirtz family.


In addition to more than 80 Bulls/Blackhawks games each year, the United Center has hosted other sporting events such as University of Illinois basketball, the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament, the Men's NCAA Basketball Tournament (hosted seven times, including 2007), the Roundball Classic, and the Great Eight Classic. Musical acts appearing at the United Center have included Shania Twain, Pearl Jam, the Dave Matthews Band, Barbra Streisand, Madonna, Britney Spears, The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Kanye West, Van Halen, Celine Dion, Beyonce, Rush, and many other well known performers.

The Chicago Bulls celebrated their 4th and 5th championship on the United Center floor, by clinching both game 6's of the NBA Finals in 1996 and 1997 respectively (their last title celebration was in Utah at the Delta Center).

U2 filmed a concert at the United Center during the American Leg of their Vertigo Tour. The United Center has also provided a Chicago home for Cirque du Soleil, Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, and Disney on Ice.

The United Center was also the site of the World Wrestling Federation pay-per-view SummerSlam in 1994 — the first major event held inside the building — and the 1996 Democratic National Convention. It also hosted the last of World Championship Wrestling's annual Spring Stampede pay-per-views in 2000.

Coldplay performed at the United Center on July 22nd and 23rd 2008 as part of their Viva La Vida tour, and the video for their new single, Lost! was shot at the arena, directed by Mat Whitecross.


External links


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