Some 90,000 people attended the first “Chi-Town Rising” New Year’s Eve countdown last week, and organizers have announced they’ll return to help Chicagoans ring in 2017.
“From the beginning, our intention has been to inspire celebration in Chicago and to create a new tradition for the city,” said John Murray, president of Arena Partners (the event organizers/producers) in an official statement. “Our hope and desire is to continue to do this. We are ecstatic about the success of the inaugural Chi-Town Rising. The crowds that gathered all around the area to watch the fireworks and Rising Star were greater than we anticipated as was the viewership of the live broadcast on TV. We are working hard to understand what will be required to produce a subsequent Chi-Town Rising event that meets the high demand that exists for this kind of celebration in Chicago. We hope to have a more concrete announcement in the coming weeks.”
The nationally-televised Chicago event, a small-scale version of the iconic Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration in New York City, featured live entertainment (including a midnight performance by the legendary band Chicago) hosted by TV personality Mario Lopez, food, and a 70-foot illuminated star rising 36 stories at the Hyatt Regency on Wacker Drive.
As for the name of the event, organizers in a recent interview told the Tribune: “People use it who live in Chicago, that are in the neighborhoods, people in music and the arts,” said John Murray, president of event producer Arena Partners. He said the aim of the name choice was to be hip, useful and authentic, adding that the moniker tested well with millennials and is widely used in products and advertising for companies such as Nike, Harley-Davidson and McDonald’s.”
The event was a ratings champ for NBC, which aired the whole shebang live. According to bizjournals.com: “For the crucial 11:15 p.m to 12:15 a.m. hour Thursday night when both stations were airing their respective New Year’s Eve bashes live, Channel 5 notched an average 12.7 rating and Channel 7 scored an 11.8. One rating point equals 35,000 households in the Chicago market.