Sky would host WNBA Finals at UIC with Garth Brooks booked at Allstate
BY BRIAN SANDALOW For Sun-Times Media September 2, 2014 11:24PM
If the Sky win Wednesday and reach the WNBA Finals, their home games will not be at Allstate Arena.
Due to a schedule conflict at their Rosemont home, the Sky would host Games 3 and 4 of the best-of-five series at the UIC Pavilion. Allstate Arena is booked Thursday through Sept. 14 for shows by country legend Garth Brooks. With the Sky’s two potential home games in the Finals scheduled for
Sept. 12 and Sept. 14, they needed to find another venue.
That venue is the Pavilion, which seats 6,958 and has a full capacity of 10,075. The Sky’s court from Allstate Arena would be used instead of the one on which UIC’s men’s and women’s basketball teams play.
Sky president and CEO Adam Fox said the franchise looked into different venues in Chicago and the suburbs. In the end, they went with the Pavilion, which had the right mix of availability and amenities to stage the WNBA Finals games.
“It really ended up making sense,” Fox said, “and the best opportunity was the UIC Pavilion.”
Fox said Allstate Arena management gave him an idea this might happen “awhile ago.” At that point, the Sky started looking for another arena in the area and eventually found a temporary home at the Pavilion, where they played from 2006 to ’09.
Fox credited Allstate Arena management for alerting him to the potential conflict and said he understood why they booked the event. Due to popular demand, an unprecedented 11th sold-out show was added to Brooks’ stop as he starts his comeback world tour, and it was something the building couldn’t pass up.
“It’s a tough thing to do to a home tenant that’s based here, but it’s a once-in-a-career booking,” said Patrick Nagle, the arena’s executive director, who has been booking events there for around 18 years.
That’s something Fox gets.
“Clearly, the need for them to have the bird in the hand is certainly — while not optimal — certainly understandable,” said Fox, who added that the team’s relationship with the arena is still strong and management is being “exceptionally accommodating.”
That meant helping the Sky host Monday’s game against the Indiana Fever. The arena made sure the Sky were able to do that at Allstate Arena by moving back the load-in for the show.
“When you’re in a relationship, there has to be sometimes give-and-take,” Fox said. “They’ve been incredibly supportive of what we’re doing.”