United Center unveils new fan experience ahead of Bulls, Blackhawks home openers


CHICAGO — It’s been three years in the making but fans of the Bulls and Blackhawks will soon experience an exciting new addition to the United Center when both teams host their home openers this weekend.

Arena officials on Wednesday unveiled their new state-of-the-art FanDuel Sportsbook Lounge, which will be open to ticketed guests for all events.

“Hope and joy fills the room and the space and we’re excited for our fans to be back,” said Joe Myhra, senior vice president of operations and administration. “I think anytime you can bring on new and exciting things for fans, we’re excited.”

The two-story space on the southeast side of the stadium is currently operating as a sports lounge. But the United Center is working with the Illinois Gaming Board to secure a license for waging.   

“It’s a project we’ve been working on for a long time and I really feel like it stands alone in a class of this new era of sportsbook lounge facilities that we’re aspiring to be,” said Kevin O’Brien, director of food and beverages.

The new viewing experience comes with an entirely new menu and elevated bar food with quality ingredients and creative touches. 

“When you’re watching a game with a group of people, the classics are really what’s going to hit,” O’Brien said.

Some new menu highlights include the Wagyu beef hotdog, house-made chicken tenders, and spicy pork nachos, all perfectly paired with a few signature cocktails.

“Our goal is always to exceed what you might get at your standard corner bar, yet still remain approachable,” O’Brien said.

If you need something on the go – the Dashery is the place for you. The new check-out-free market allows fans to grab drinks and snacks quickly before returning to the action.  

“It’s using Amazon technology,” Myhra said. “Quick in and out and plenty of options for fans.”

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No matter the options, officials say the staff is eager to welcome fans back to the arena for the start of what will hopefully be two exciting, win-filled seasons.  

“We’ve had a big month,” O’Brien said. “So the staff is totally primed with the most recent run of concerts through the United Center.”

UC officials say they hope they have their gaming license sometime next year. Doing so would make the arena the first Chicago arena with a sportsbook.

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