Branding for next year’s Democratic National Convention is displayed on the scoreboard at the United Center in April 11. The convention will be held Aug. 19-22.
Scott Olson, Getty
WASHINGTON — The first wave of Democratic convention-related business hits Chicago on Jan. 18, when more than 500 representatives from media outlets come to the city for a logistics tour of the United Center, the main venue for the August event.
About 15,000 members of the media are expected for the convention, Aug. 19-22. They are part of the overall 50,000 attendees, including delegates, coming to the city for the expected nomination of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris for a second term.
Media logistics range from simple, for a solo print journalist who needs just a laptop and Wi-Fi, to enormously complex for television networks with all sorts of technical needs to support live operations. Major news outlets planning on sending armies of reporters to the convention will be able to get an idea of workspace availability for the temporary offices that will be set up at the Jan. 18 event.
“This will be the first logistical walk-through for media organizations ahead of the convention and will serve as an opportunity to receive detailed information about the logistics for coverage,” the Democratic National Convention Committee said in a statement.
Chicago last hosted a convention in 1996, when Democrats met at the United Center. And as in 1996, it is highly likely that some sort of temporary structure will be built in the United Center parking lot to provide workspace for media outlets.
The Jan. 18 event will focus on the United Center. During the convention, activities will also take place at the McCormick Place complex and possibly other locations.
Media representatives will be eligible for convention rates at the three hotels that the DNCC is using for the event — the Hyatt Regency Chicago, the Marriott Marquis Chicago and the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place
Republicans, holding their convention in Milwaukee July 15-18, are hosting a similar media logistics briefing Nov. 30. The GOP convention will be at the Fiserv Forum, with some events at the Panther Arena and Baird Center.
Given that this is an opportunity to show off the city, there likely will be some sort of media welcome reception in Chicago on the night of Jan. 17.
Convention contracts now in play
The DNCC and the Chicago 2024 Host Committee are starting to request bids for a variety of services. A place to find out about potential jobs and contracts and how to bid is Chicago2024.com. At present, job openings have been posted to fill slots for event architect, event management, exposition services and construction management services.
Earlier this month, the DNCC and host committee picked K + P Advisory to serve as owner’s representative for the convention, to be “the in-house expert on design, construction and event contracting and works as a part of the larger team responsible for preparing the United Center and its surroundings,” the host committee and DNCC said in a release.
K + P Advisory is run by Ayse Kalaycioglu and Anthony Pascente, and is certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise. The Democrats have pledged to spread around convention business to small and minority-owned firms in the city.
K + P Advisory’s work will be supported by, according to the DNCC and host committee, “a diverse Chicago-based team, including SQN Associates, a certified minority- and woman-owned business; Rodriguez Media Communication, a certified minority- and woman-owned business; and the Concord Group, a small business enterprise.”