BMO Harris Bank Center Tried To Bring Illini Basketball To Rockford
Due to renovations at State Farm Center in Champaign, the Fighting Illini basketball team was in need of a venue to host five games during the early part of the 2015/16 season.
New documents obtained by the Champaign News-Gazette as part of a Freedom of Information Act request detail the offers received by the University of Illinois from various locales. In all, six venues wanted to host home games, including the BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford.
In the end, officials decided to play at the Prairie Capital Center in Springfield. Here are the deatils from their propsal:
The Prairie Capital center will pay the university $325,000 per game, or a total of $1.625 million, plus a $100,000 bonus if all five games sell out, according to the contract. In exchange, the convention center will keep all revenue from ticket sales for the games, as well as income from concessions, parking and merchandise sales. The center will also impose its standard $2 surcharge on every ticket as a facility fee.
The Illini will also get 176 free tickets per game, for opposing teams, marketing and other needs; and 20 complimentary hotel rooms per night at the attached Double Tree Hilton.
If you're wondering how close the BMO came to that offer, the News Gazette reports this is what Rockford officials were willing to do:
Base rent of $5,000 per game would include use of video board and all ticketing, setup and staffing costs and a mutually agreed number of parking spaces. Other expenses: advertising budget capped at $35,000 for all five games; catering $2,500 per game; security/EMS/police $3,000 per game; insurance 55 cents per ticket; stagehands capped at $40,000 for the five games, including court installation and game operations staff; cleaning $2,000 per game; facility fee of $2 per ticket.
Arena would sell merchandise and keep 85 percent of proceeds, with 15 percent going to Illini.
Arena would reserve all rights to annually contracted suites and club seats; both parties would have right to sell non-contracted suites and clubs at agreed-upon prices.
University athletics spokesman Kent Brown says the school talked to the United Center in Chicago about playing games there but it happens to be circus time at the UC.
I thought the idea of a barnstorming tour through the state would be a great idea, hitting the big cities without a Division One program -- Rockford, Quad Cities, Decatur, etc. I guess that didn't fly with U of I officials.