How Does United Center Change From Basketball To Hockey

The United Center, located in Chicago, is a versatile venue that can seamlessly transition from hosting basketball games to hockey games. Here are five facts that explain how the United Center changes from basketball to hockey:

1. Conversion process: The United Center has a remarkable conversion process that takes place between basketball and hockey games. The process involves removing the basketball court and replacing it with an NHL-sized ice rink. This transformation is completed by a skilled crew, which ensures a smooth transition in a relatively short time.

2. Ice installation: To convert the United Center from basketball to hockey, the ice surface needs to be installed. This involves laying down multiple layers of ice panels and piping systems that will keep the ice cold. Additionally, the ice is carefully leveled and painted with the necessary markings and logos.

3. Seating reconfiguration: The seating in the United Center is adjusted to accommodate the different needs of basketball and hockey games. For basketball, the court is surrounded by retractable seating on all sides. However, for hockey games, the lower-level seating is not retractable, and additional seating sections are added to provide a full view of the ice rink.

4. Lighting adjustments: The lighting in the United Center is optimized differently for basketball and hockey games. Basketball requires brighter and more evenly distributed lighting to enhance player visibility. On the other hand, hockey games require specific lighting setups that reduce glare from the ice surface and ensure optimal visibility for both players and spectators.

5. Temperature control: Another crucial aspect of transitioning from basketball to hockey is temperature control. Basketball games require a controlled temperature to ensure the players’ comfort. In contrast, for hockey games, the temperature inside the arena needs to be significantly cooler to maintain the quality and hardness of the ice rink.


1. How long does it take to convert the United Center from basketball to hockey?
The conversion process typically takes around 12-24 hours, depending on various factors such as the crew’s efficiency and experience.

2. Is the basketball court completely removed during the conversion process?
Yes, the basketball court is entirely dismantled and stored away to make room for the hockey ice rink.

3. Does the United Center have a permanent ice rink underneath the basketball court?
No, the United Center does not have a permanent ice rink. The ice rink is built specifically for hockey games and is removed after each event.

4. Are the locker rooms and player facilities also adjusted during the conversion process?
Yes, the locker rooms and player facilities undergo necessary changes to accommodate the needs of both basketball and hockey players.

5. Can spectators access the additional seating added for hockey games?
Yes, all seating sections, including the additional ones added for hockey games, are accessible to spectators during hockey events.

6. Are there any changes in ticket prices between basketball and hockey games?
Ticket prices may vary between basketball and hockey games due to the different seating configurations and demand for each sport.

7. What other factors contribute to the seamless conversion from basketball to hockey in the United Center?
Apart from the physical changes made to the arena, the United Center has advanced technological systems in place for sound, video displays, and other game elements to ensure a flawless transition.

The United Center smoothly transforms from hosting basketball games to hockey games through a well-orchestrated conversion process that involves changing the playing surface, adjusting seating configurations, optimizing lighting, maintaining suitable temperatures, and implementing advanced technological systems. The venue’s versatility allows fans to enjoy both sports in a world-class facility.