Return To The United Center: Everything You Need To Know Before You Go To A Bulls Or Blackhawks Game

Written By Matt Boecker on December 20, 2021 - Last Updated on January 5, 2022
United Center

The Bulls and Blackhawks provide electrifying atmospheres at home games, as both teams have shots at making the postseason.

Bulls fans can’t help but see red after a phenomenal start to the season. 

They boast a three-headed monster with potential All-Stars Zach LaVine, Demar DeRozan and Lonzo Ball

They offer some hometown flavor with Chicago’s own Ayo Dosunmu making an impact off the bench. 

Free-agent signing Alex Caruso has been the signing of the offseason, leading the team in steals and turning heads at the United Center every time he drives to the rim.

The Blackhawks had a bumpy start to the season, going 1-12 in their opening 13 games.

But since firing former head coach Jeremy Colliton, the Hawks have posted a 10-9 record under interim coach Derek King.

But with COVID-19 cases starting to rise again, there are some things to note before heading to the Madhouse on Madison for a game.

Here is everything you need to know about COVID-19 policies at the United Center.

Are there capacity limits at the United Center?

No, there are currently no restrictions on the number of fans allowed in the UC, which was remodeled in 1994.

It can seat up to 23,500 spectators, making it the largest indoor arena in the US based on capacity.

While this brings joy to Chicagoans and the city’s home teams, it can cause problems for visiting teams trying to stay focused in a ruckus environment.

It also allows Blackhawks fans to continue their tradition of standing and cheering while legendary singer Jim Cornelison performs his rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner.

Are masks required in the arena?

Yes, for all guests over the age of two. 

The mask must remain on at all times, covering both your face and mouth. The only acceptable times to remove the mask are for eating food or drinking.

This rule applies even if you want to pull your mask down and give the visiting team’s bench a piece of your mind. You must do so through a mask.

Is proof of vaccination required to enter?

Yes. Updated city of Chicago guidelines require proof of full vaccination to enter for everyone five years and older.

Are physical tickets accepted or strictly digital?

Paper tickets will not be accepted. The arena will only accept tickets on a mobile device to allow for an entirely contactless experience upon entering the arena.

You can access tickets through the United Center or Ticketmaster apps as well as other third parties. This allows for a safer mode of entry and also helps the lines move along faster. A true win-win for everyone involved.

Do concession and souvenir stands accept cash payments?

No, cash will not be accepted as a form of payment in order to keep all transactions contactless. 

The UC also offers mobile ordering. This allows fans to pick up food and skip the long lines at halftime or the end of a period.

How can I bet on the Bulls and Hawks?

You can bet on the Bulls and Blackhawks at online Illinois sportsbooks. All six operators have lines and props for every game.

And recently, Chicago made news on the retail sports betting front.

After much back and forth from team owners, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and many other individuals and committees, teams can officially offer in-stadium betting.

The Chicago City Council recently voted to allow retail sportsbooks in and around Chicago stadiums.

Eventually, Bulls and Blackhawks fans will be able to place bets at the UC. 

But before any type of construction, the United Center must partner with a sportsbook to run the operation. The Bulls are sponsored by FanDuel, meaning that could be the sportsbook to take action at the UC.

Until then, Illinoisans can bet on the following mobile sportsbooks: Barstool, BetRivers, DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet, and Ceasers Sportsbook by William Hill.

Photo by AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast
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Matt Boecker

Matt Boecker is a 2020 graduate of Northern Illinois University hailing from Chicago. Boecker specializes in coverage of sports betting and legalization. Former teammates and coworkers describe him as a nice guy who tries hard and loves the game.

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