IHSA March Madness To Remain At State Farm Center In Champaign-Urbana Through 2029

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The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Board of Directors has announced a state final hosting contract extension for the IHSA Boys Basketball State Finals at the State Farm Center on the University of Illinois campus in Champaign-Urbana.

“The IHSA is thrilled for America’s Original March Madness to remain in Champaign-Urbana for the foreseeable future,” said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. “We appreciate the support that Champaign-Urbana and its surrounding communities, the University, State Farm Center, Experience Champaign-Urbana, and all the tournament volunteers annually provide for the state tournament. Champaign-Urbana has a long legacy of producing top tier events that lead to lifelong memories for IHSA players, coaches, schools, and their fans.”

The contract extension is five years in length and will encompass the 2024-25, 2025-26, 2026-27, 2027-28, and 2028-29 state tournaments.

“We are honored to continue as host of the boys’ basketball state finals on the University of Illinois campus,” said University of Illinois Athletic Director Josh Whitman. “The Champaign-Urbana community has come together to provide a first-class experience to all the teams over the past three years, and we know from the overwhelming feedback we’ve received that it has been a positive experience for all who have participated. We are proud to continue our longstanding, strong partnership with the IHSA and are thrilled that the state championships will continue to be played on the biggest stage here at State Farm Center.”

The IHSA Boys Basketball State Finals debuted on the University of Illinois campus in 1919 and were played in the State Farm Center (then the Assembly Hall) from 1963 to 1995, before returning in 2022. The Boys Basketball State Final hosting extension was a joint proposal from the University of Illinois, the Fighting Illini Athletic Department, State Farm Center, Visit Champaign County, and the Champaign-Urbana communities.

“We are thrilled with this news, as the first three years have shown tremendous economic growth and excitement in the community and across the state!” said Jayne DeLuce, President & CEO of Experience Champaign-Urbana. “With local support in partnership with University of Illinois Athletics, we will continue to provide these student-athletes, their families, and fans with memories that will last a lifetime.”

The State Farm Center also serves as the host of IHSA Boys Individual Wrestling State Finals each February.

“State Farm Center, Illinois Athletics, and the University of Illinois are thrilled to know the next several chapters of IHSA Boys Basketball State Finals history will be written in Champaign,” said John Marquardt, the Director of the State Farm Center. “America’s Original March Madness has roots on campus dating back to 1919 when the tournament was held in Kenney Gym. We are honored to continue our long-standing relationship with the IHSA and Experience Champaign-Urbana to provide a championship experience that creates lifetime memories for players, coaches, and fans alike at State Farm Center.”

Additionally, the IHSA Board of Directors has asked the IHSA staff to negotiate a contract extension for the IHSA Girls Basketball State Finals at CEFCU Arena on the Illinois State University campus in Bloomington-Normal.

“CEFCU Arena and the Illinois State University campus in the only home the IHSA Girls Basketball State Finals have ever known, and it is our intention to extend that agreement through 2029 as well,” said Anderson. “There is mutual interest by the IHSA, Illinois State University, and the Bloomington-Normal Area Convention & Visitors Bureau to make that happen, and I anticipate we will have a formal announcement in the very near future.”

The IHSA will maintain the three-day format (Thursday, Friday, Saturday) that was adopted prior to the 2022 state tourney. The daily game and time schedule is being reviewed by the IHSA Basketball Advisory Committee and will be finalized at the IHSA Board of Directors meeting in June.

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