Really big day for DePaul basketball. Major news from all angles in the past 24 hours.
First off- the artist renderings for the new McCormick Place downtown Arena have been released (see them here) DPU hired the same architectural firm that did the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (once the tallest buildings in the world) The 10,000-seat DePaul Arena is scheduled to open for the start of the 2016-17 college basketball season.
Secondly, DePaul basketball announced that they are extending their radio partnership with WSCR 670 The Score for two more years. The Score has been the primary home of DePaul basketball since the start of the 1997-98 season.
Today was also the DePaul basketball season tip-off media luncheon, and one of the topics discussed was the new partnership between Fox Sports 1 and the Big East Conference. As you know FS1 ratings have been abysmal out of the gate, somewhat due to the failure of their afternoon talk show Crowd Goes Wild. Maybe Big East basketball can help change that.
“For them to make Big East basketball a flagship for them, from a basketball standpoint says what they think about the Big East. So we’re thrilled with that.”
DePaul opens the season on Saturday, Nov. 9 against Grambling State at McGrath-Phillips Arena. Purnell said today during his speech that “the goal for this year is to make the NCAA tournament.”
That would certainly be going from 0-60 miles per hour in a nanosecond. DePaul has won just six conference games since Purnell took over three years ago and the program is 7-82 in league play since 2008. No power conference team allowed more points last season than the DePaul Blue Demons.
However, the most interesting and thought-provoking part of today's speaking program was the women’s coach for DePaul basketball, Doug Bruno, making a very aggressive appeal to get the local media to cover his sport. The Big East women’s conference tournament will be in Rosemont this year and Bruno overtly asked the media to come and publicize it. Bruno tried appealing to the ideals of civil rights and gender equity, and also busted out this statistic:
“Less than 8% of all electronic and print media covers women’s sports.”
He then informed the room that the New York media said they will refuse to travel to Chicago to cover the tourney. Bruno called upon the local media to then upstage the NYC media by filling that coverage void.
That’s all very noble and socially progressive of Bruno to make this plea, but it will fall on deaf ears. First, I like NYC a lot and I don’t fall for that “second city” inferiority complex that the meathead portion of our fair city buys into. Second, and much more importantly, women’s sports are ignored by the media for business reasons, not a sociopolitical agenda. Women’s basketball will see an increase in coverage if and when the “invisible hand” of the “free market” demands it.
New York’s media isn’t coming here for one reason only- there’s no return on investment to do so.
Here's a video showing all the Arena artist renderings up close: For stills go here.
Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net, an affiliate of Fox Sports. An analyst for 95.7 The Fan and 1620 The Zone, he also writes for Chicago Now. Follow him on Twitter (@paulmbanks) and Facebook
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