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Local

Convocation Center open house was quiet

University trying to sell facility's naming rights

The women's basketball teams from Northern Illinois University and Miami (Ohio) face off Jan. 31 at the NIU Convocation Center in DeKalb.
The women's basketball teams from Northern Illinois University and Miami (Ohio) face off Jan. 31 at the NIU Convocation Center in DeKalb.

DeKALB – There wasn’t a single investor or business representative in attendance Wednesday morning for Northern Illinois University’s open house as it tries to sell the naming rights to the Convocation Center.

NIU administrators still are hopeful bids will come in. 

The university announced last week that it’s soliciting bids for the naming rights to the 15-year-old, $36 million facility, with a more than 10,000-seat capacity.

Prospective investors were invited to a kickoff event at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday – which included a walk-through featuring a tour, the facility’s specifications and more. 

“We could probably get more information at the end of the month and anticipate interest and bids to come in,” said John Cheney, NIU senior associate athletic director/internal operations. “We weren’t anticipating a huge showing to the open house, and it wasn’t a requirement to hold one, but we wanted to keep it public and show what we have to offer.” 

The weather could have been a factor in deterring potential investors from the open house, Cheney said. It was 20 degrees with flurries Wednesday morning in DeKalb.

Cheney said many national businesses have expressed interest and downloaded an informational packet about the Convocation Center and the bidding process, but he couldn’t provide information regarding which businesses and how many have downloaded the packet. 

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