The Rockford IceHogs and Hard Rock Casino Rockford have inked a five-year deal as the two have created the ultimate viewing experience for fans heading to the BMO Harris Bank Center to catch a game.
Hard Rock will be the next casino in Illinois to be built.
With each entity holding large shares in the Rockford entertainment market, this collaboration promises to be beneficial for both entities involved as well as Rockford citizens.
History of each organization in Rockford
The IceHogs moved from Thunder Bay, Ontario to Rockford in the late 1990s and played their first official game in Northern Illinois in 1999. At the time the IceHogs were members of the United Hockey League.
During the 2007-2008 season, Rockford moved up to the American Hockey League. With this, they became the top affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks
The IceHogs have become the longest-tenured sports franchise in Rockford, leaving its imprint not only on the entertainment market but also doing charitable work in the community through the IceHogs Charitable Foundation.
Hard Rock is a newcomer to Rockford, having just opened its doors this past November.
The current casino is just a placeholder while the current one is being built. It’s estimated that the final version of the casino will open in about two years.
The temporary casino boasts 8,500 square feet of gaming space with 635 slots and electronic table games.
Outside of the betting options, there are two restaurants located in the casino as well as a pop-up retail shop.
What will come from the collaboration
The deal between Hard Rock and the IceHogs has brought a 56 seat VIP suite located at center ice of BMO Harris Bank.
This premium club seating, dubbed The Stage, features private luxury seating, tabletop bars, a private buffet, bar restrooms, and hospitality space for patrons to mingle.
Most recent Illinois casino proposal
Bally’s has made efforts towards opening a casino in conjunction with McCormick Place and the proposed reward program has the backing of local businesses.
Bally’s proposition is to provide patrons with reward points and gift cards to use at local businesses in the city’s south side.
This casino is one of five that have been formally proposed. The other four are:
- Bally’s Chicago Tribune Publishing Center in the near north side of Chicago
- Rivers McCormick in the near south side
- Rivers 78 in the south loop
- Hard Rock Once Central in the near south side
So yes, it is possible that we see two Hard Rock casinos in the Land of Lincoln in the future. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is expected to choose a winner by the end of March, and partnerships like these make the Hard Rock brand more recognizable.