Press Release for the University of Illinois:
UI Athletics Communication Contact: Derrick Burson (217) 333-0933, firstname.lastname@example.org
Fighting Illini Basketball
Prairie Capital Convention Center to Host Illinois Basketball in November 2015
Fighting Illini will play total of 5 games in Springfield next season
SPRINGFIELD, ILL.–The University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics (DIA) announced Thursday that it has reached an agreement with the Prairie Capital Convention Center in Springfield to host five Fighting Illini men’s basketball games in November 2015. Illinois will make its debut at the Prairie Capital Convention Center (PCCC) on Nov. 8, 2015, for an exhibition game. The Illini return to Springfield for the regular-season opener on Nov. 13, followed by another game on Nov. 15. The UI makes its final visit to the capital city the next week with games on Nov. 21 and Nov. 23.
“We are hard at work transforming State Farm Center into one of the finest basketball venues in the country. And as we have known since the beginning of the project, we will not be able to host games next season until December due to the renovation schedule,” Illinois director of athletics Mike Thomas said. “We will instead take our show on the road and are thrilled to partner with the Prairie Capital Convention Center as we move five home games to our state capital. The PCCC staff and community leaders throughout Springfield aggressively pursued this opportunity. They will roll out the orange carpet and allow us to transform the PCCC in November 2015 so that we can provide the best home-court advantage for our student-athletes and our program.”
Springfield is less than 90 miles from the UI campus. It provides a central location in the state that will be convenient for traveling Illini fans in addition to the strong following the program already receives from the Springfield area.
“Hosting the University of Illinois basketball team for five games next season is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Prairie Capital Convention Center and the City of Springfield,” PCCC general manager Brian Oaks said. “We are so excited to be able to support the University during this time of renovation at State Farm Center, and are certain our local U of I faithful and Fighting Illini sports fans from around the state will support these games and provide a true home-court experience during the team’s stay here. In addition to the excitement of hosting these games, they will provide a significant economic impact to the City of Springfield and help further our mission of building tourism and quality of life opportunities for residents of Springfield and the surrounding communities.”
Illinois will recreate the feeling of playing at home by transporting the playing surface, baskets, bench chairs and scorer’s table from State Farm Center to the PCCC. Specific information regarding tickets for the Springfield games will be announced at a later date.
“Our administration was aggressive in seeking out a location that would serve as a true home away from home during the renovation of State Farm Center, and we have found an outstanding partner in the Prairie Capital Convention Center,” Illinois head coach John Groce said. “They have cleared every date that we requested, allowing us to tailor our game schedule and minimize our travel. We’re covering the five games in just three trips, going over first for an exhibition game and then twice where we’ll play two games over three days, staying for practice on the days in between those games as well. We feel privileged to showcase Fighting Illini basketball in Springfield.”