Public Accountability Report Public Accountability Report

Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority
(Appropriated Spending in Thousands)
  FY 2022 FY 2021
Reporting Programs Expenditures Headcount Expenditures Headcount
MPEA Debt Service $ 140,798.5 0.0 $ 151,815.4 0.0
MPEA Operations $ 0.0 633.9 $ 0.0 245.8
Totals $ 140,798.5 633.9 $ 151,815.4 245.8

Amounts may not sum to total due to rounding.

Agency Narrative

The Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (Authority or MPEA) is a municipal corporation established by the Illinois General Assembly in 1989. Its mission is to attract trade shows, conventions, meetings, expositions, and public events to the City of Chicago and in the process strengthen the economy of the area. The MPEA owns McCormick Place, Navy Pier, the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place Hotel, the Marriott Marquis Chicago Hotel, Wintrust Arena/Arie Crown Theater and the Energy Center.

  • McCormick Place is the largest convention center in North America, hosting three million visitors each year.
  • Navy Pier attracts more than nine million guests annually and is the top visited tourist and leisure destination in the Midwest.
  • The Hyatt Regency McCormick Place Hotel is a Four Diamond-rated hotel located on the McCormick Square campus.
  • The Marriott Marquis Chicago Hotel is a 1,205-room and 40-floor tower four star hotel.
  • Wintrust Arena is a 10,387 seat event center that can host 5,000 to 10,000 guests and is home of DePaul basketball and other events.
  • Arie Crown Theater is a 4,250-seat theater and is positioned in McCormick Place Lakeside Center.
  • The Energy Center is a district heating and cooling plant that supplies steam and chilled water to the convention center complex and several local customers.

In 2010, reform legislation restructured the McCormick Place convention operations. By design, projected revenues from utility delivery services and food service activities at McCormick Place are significantly lower than in the years preceding the restructuring.

MPEA was on track to exceed financial plan results for fiscal year 2020, but on March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization characterized the outbreak of a strain of the novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”) as a pandemic in the face of the global spread of the virus.  The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically altered the behavior of businesses and people in a manner that is having negative effects on global and local economies.  Stock markets in the U.S and globally, have seen significant declines and volatility attributed to concerns over COVID-19.  These adverse impacts have intensified and continue to evolve within the United States.

On March 10, 2020, MPEA ceased events both at the convention hall as well as Wintrust Arena as the business at MPEA related to conventions were not deemed essential by the City of Chicago.  Conventions and large gatherings will not be permissible until Phase 5 of the Restore Illinois Plan at which time McCormick Place will reopen at full capacity.

On May 23, 2021 the Restore Illinois Plan moved to the Bridge Phase, which allowed 60% capacity for spectator events requiring tickets and seats and for meetings, conferences and conventions the lesser of 1,000 people or 60% capacity was allowed.  Our Wintrust Arena was then able to open to spectators. 

In July 2021, the Restore Illinois Plan moved into Phase 5, which allowed our convention business to commence; while also following the recommended health guidelines issued by the City of Chicago and State of Illinois. 

The significant decrease in revenues is primarily attributable to the effects COVID-19 had on our campus which forced 211 events to be cancelled starting in mid-March of 2020 through the end of June 2021.

In fiscal year 2022, MPEA re-opened convention business as events returned post COVID-19 and far exceeded projections.

In fiscal year 2023, the budget reflects a ramping up period as convention business continued to open up.  MPEA assumed to generate the following results, 1st- 2nd quarters 75% and 3rd- 4th quarters 90% of 2019 event levels.  MPEA is projecting to exceed these assumptions by the end of fiscal year 2023.


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