State Farm Center
State Farm Center is a large dome-shaped 15,544-seat indoor arena located in Champaign, Illinois, owned and operated by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The arena hosts games for the Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball and women's basketball teams. It also doubles as a performance and event center, and is one of the largest venues between Chicago and St. Louis. It opened in 1963 and was known until 2013 as Assembly Hall until State Farm Insurance acquired naming rights as part of a major renovation project.
|Former names||Assembly Hall (1963–2013)|
|Address||1800 South 1st Street|
|Owner||University of Illinois|
|Operator||University of Illinois|
|Capacity||15,544 (permanent), 16,500 (concert) (2016–present)|
|Broke ground||May 25, 1959|
|Opened||March 2, 1963|
|Construction cost||$8.35 million|
($69.7 million in 2019 dollars)
|Architect||Harrison & Abramovitz|
|Structural engineer||Ammann & Whitney|
|General contractor||Felmley-Dickerson Co.|
|Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball (1963–present)|
Illinois Fighting Illini women's basketball (1981–1993, 1998–present)
The third largest Illinois arena after the United Center in Chicago and the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, State Farm Center has 15,544 permanent seats but, when portable chairs are placed on the floor for an in-the-round performance, there is a potential for an additional 1,000 depending on the stage configuration.
State Farm Center opened as Assembly Hall on March 2, 1963, and continues to attract attention for its design and construction. From 1963 to 1965 Assembly Hall was the largest dome structure in North America until the opening of the Astrodome in Houston, Texas. The roof is supported by 614 miles (988 km) of one-quarter inch steel wire wrapped at the base of the dome under intensive pressure. The architect was Max Abramovitz, a University of Illinois alumnus.
Fighting Illini BasketballEdit
State Farm Center hosts home games of Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball and Illinois Fighting Illini women's basketball and has earned a reputation as one of the toughest places to play in college basketball, thanks to the student cheering section, the "Orange Krush," which occupies the floor around the court as well as some seats.
At the annual "Paint the Hall Orange" game, everyone in attendance would wear an orange shirt, resulting in an impressive and intimidating environment. In recent years, however, it has become customary for Illini fans to wear orange at all home games and so the official "PTHO" game was discontinued after the 2007-08 season.
In August 2015, prior to the reopening of the newly renovated State Farm Center, the hardwood floor was dedicated and named Lou Henson Court in honor of the Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball all-time leader in victories Lou Henson.
State Farm Center has hosted a variety of Illinois High School Association events. It has been the home of the state individual wrestling tournament since 1967. From 1963 to 1995, State Farm Center played host to the state finals of the boys' basketball tournament. From 1978 to 1991, it also hosted the IHSA girls' basketball tournament.
The largest concerts by attendance thus far are:
|1.||Garth Brooks||March 7-9, 1997||49,000 (total)|
|2.||Elvis Presley||Oct. 22, 1976||17,117|
|3.||Johnny Cash||Oct. 4, 1969|
|4.||Garth Brooks||March 11, 1992|
|5.||REO Speedwagon||April 21, 1981|
|6.||Def Leppard||Oct. 16, 1988|
|7.||Kenny Chesney||April 5, 2019|
|8.||The Rolling Stones||Nov. 15, 1969|
|9.||Phish||Nov. 19, 1997|
|10.||U2||Oct. 22, 1987|
"Illinois Renaissance" renovationEdit
In the autumn of 2008, school officials, led by Athletics Director Ron Guenther, conducted a study to decide whether to refurbish the then-named Assembly Hall or build a new basketball arena. In 2010, the university opted to renovate the existing structure and selected the architectural firm AECOM to design the renovation. The athletic department sent surveys to I-Fund and season ticket holders to gauge demand for various premium seating options. Architects used this information to create schematic drawings and architectural renderings near the end of 2012, which then Athletics Director Mike Thomas used to aid in fundraising for the project. The anticipated renovation cost was between $150 and $160 million, and construction would not start before spring of 2014. As part of the renovations, State Farm Insurance purchased the naming rights to the arena for $60 million over 30 years.
The State Farm Center began renovations after the 2013–14 men's basketball season. Work included adding luxury suites, club/loge seating, new blue seats included in the renovation. In the luxury suites and club level seats, there will be concessions where alcoholic beverages will allowed to be served as well as a buffet area. The total budget for the renovation was estimated at $169.5 million.
The construction process did cause some conflicts with scheduled sporting events at the beginning of the 2015-16 basketball season. The men's basketball team played the first five games of the 2015 at the Prairie Capital Convention Center in Springfield, while the 2015 Women's basketball team played their first five games at Parkland College. The renovated arena hosted its first game on December 2, when the Fighting Illini fell to Notre Dame 84–79. 
The following corporate sponsor, Fighting Illini benefactors, former Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball players, and University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign alumni have donated sizeable contributions towards the $169.5 million renovation cost of the State Farm Center.
|State Farm Insurance||$60 million over 30 years||Corporate sponsorship||State Farm Center|
|John Giuliani||$5 million||Alumnus||Traditions Club|
|Mannie Jackson||$3 million||Former player||University of Illinois Basketball Hall of Fame|
|Dave Downey||$2 million||Former player||Courtside Club|
|Timothy and Sharon Ubben||$2 million||Benefactors||Donor Recognition Wall|
|Jim Benson||$2 million||Alumnus||Legacy Club|
|John Penicook family||$1 million||Alumni||West Horseshoe Drive|
|Phillip and Heidi Sarnecki||$500,000||Alumni||Men's Coaches Locker Room|
|Dennis D. Swanson family||$500,000||Alumnus||Illini Media Center|
|H. D. Smith Foundation||$500,000||Alumnus||Sports Medicine Facility|
|Jeffrey Kautz family||$250,000||Alumnus||Dining Room|
Historical Fighting Illini Home CourtsEdit
- Kenney Gym (1905–1925) located on the campus of the University of Illinois and is named after Harold E. (Hek) Kenney. The arena opened in 1890 and was originally known as the Men's Gym Annex.
- Huff Hall (1925–1963) opened in 1925 and was known as Huff Gymnasium until the 1990s. It is named after George Huff, who was the school's athletic director from 1895 to 1935.
- Assembly Hall/State Farm Center (1963–present)
Fighting Illini Men's basketball records at State Farm Center (Assembly Hall)Edit
|Season||Wins||Losses||Win pct.||Total attendance||NCAA rank||Sellouts|
- High attendance for game: 17,087 (Illinois 64, Michigan 52, 2/12/2015)
- Low attendance for game: 3,016 (Illinois 90, North Dakota State 73, 12/8/1975)
- High attendance for season: 282,506, 2006-07 (17 games, 16,618 avg.)
- Low attendance for season: 72,949, 1973-74 (11 games, 6,632 avg.)
- Consecutive sellouts: 60, (12/1/2005 - 3/8/2008)
- Most sellouts in a season: 17 (2006–07)
Individual single gameEdit
- Most points
- Overall – 50, Von McDade, Wisconsin-Milwaukee...12/3/1990
- Illini player – 46, Andy Kaufmann...12/3/1990
- Most field goals
- Overall – 19, Rudy Tomjanovich, Michigan...2/22/1969
- Illini player – 17, Andy Kaufmann...12/1/1990 & Eddie Johnson...12/8/1979
- Most field goal attempts
- Overall – 44, Von McDade, Wisconsin-Milwaukee...12/3/1990
- Illini player – 34, Nick Weatherspoon...1/27/73
- Best field goal accuracy (10 shot minimum)
- Overall (Illini player) – 11/11, Derek Harper...2/19/1983
- Illini player – 10/10, Ken Norman...12/14/1985
- Most three-point goals
- Overall – 9, Von McDade, Wisconsin-Milwaukee...12/3/1990
- Illini player – 8, Brandon Paul...1/10/2012, Trenton Meacham...11/19/2006, & Dee Brown...3/3/2005
- Most three-point field goal attempts
- Overall – 22, Von McDade, Wisconsin-Milwaukee...12/3/1990
- Illini player – 16, Kevin Turner...1/3/1998
- Best three-point field goal accuracy (5 attempts minimum)
- Overall (Illini player) – 5/5, Jamar Smith...12/6/2006
- Illini player – 5/5, Sean Harrington...11/26/2000
- Most free throws
- Best free throw accuracy (10 attempts minimum)
- Most rebounds
- Most assists
- Illini player – 15, Bruce Douglas...12/14/1985
- Most steals
- Illini player – 7, Kendall Gill...3,4,1990, Kenny Battle...3/9/1988 & Bruce Douglas...12/8/1986
- Most blocks
- Illini player – 11, Derek Holcomb...12/8/1978
- Most minutes
- Illini player – 60, Bruce Douglas...1/28/84
- "About State Farm Center". State Farm Center. Retrieved August 28, 2018.
- Kacich, Tom (May 20, 2009). "University of Illinois' 'Flying Saucer' Has Aged Gracefully". The News-Gazette. Champaign. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
- Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved January 1, 2020.
- Ryan, Shannon (2015-08-24). "Illinois names basketball court for former coach Lou Henson". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2015-08-25.
- Wood, Paul (March 2, 2017). "WCIA 3 Broadway Series not the same old song and dance". The News-Gazette. Retrieved August 28, 2018.
- Bannon, Terry (August 21, 2008). "Guenther Assesses Assembly Hall's Fate". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 21, 2008.
- Patel, Darshan (December 2, 2011). "Board Approves Assembly Hall Architect, Natural History Building Funds and Easter as Interim Vice Chancellor". Daily Illini. Champaign. Archived from the original on July 25, 2013. Retrieved December 14, 2012.
- Supine, John (August 14, 2012). "U of I Gauges Demand for Premium Seats in Assembly Hall". The State Journal-Register. Springfield. Retrieved December 14, 2012.
- "Illini's Assembly Hall Renamed". ESPN. Associated Press. April 29, 2013. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
- "Frequently Asked Questions". Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics. Archived from the original on 2016-02-19. Retrieved 2018-08-28.
- "PCCC to host Illini Basketball for 5 games in November 2015" (Press release). Prairie Capital Convention Center. October 30, 2014. Retrieved 2018-08-28.
- "Former Illini Basketball Great Dave Downey and Family and Friends Make $2 Million SFC Gift" (Press release). Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics. January 15, 2015. Archived from the original on 2015-01-16. Retrieved 2018-08-28.
- "NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Attendance Leaders Year-by-Year (1970-2018)" (PDF). NCAA. Retrieved August 28, 2018.
- 2014-15 Illinois Basketball Record Book (PDF). p. 137. Retrieved 2018-08-28.
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