Some of the IHSA’s biggest money-making state series events for the upcoming school year will happen all within a few hundred feet of each other on the University of Illinois campus. ❡ Of the 29 state sporting events the IHSA sponsors, three will take place in Champaign during the 2020-2021 school year. Barring any complications because of the COVID-19 pandemic, of course. ❡ Eight football state title games are set to kick off at Memorial Stadium on Nov. 27-28. Hundreds of high school wrestlers will descend upon State Farm Center from Feb. 18-20 for the individual state finals. And three weeks later, from March 11-13, 16 boys’ basketball teams are set to tip off the state tournament’s first games in Champaign since 1995. ❡ Prestige and notoriety will come with each event. So will money. According to IHSA financial statements based on an audit done last October by Striegel Knobloch & Company out of Bloomington, the IHSA made almost $1 million in revenue from the 2019 boys’ basketball state tournament. ❡ Here’s a full breakdown of each IHSA state series event from the 2018-19 school year, compiled by sports editor MATT DANIELS
1. Boys’ basketball, Champaign
Profit of $994,416
Returning to Champaign after a 25-year stay in downtown Peoria, State Farm Center will once again play host to the IHSA’s marquee event after doing so from 1963-95. Of course, the tournament has even deeper roots in C-U, with Huff Gym in Champaign hosting games from 1926-62 and Kenney Gym in Urbana doing the same from 1919-1925. The 2019 state tournament at Carver Arena in Peoria generated revenue of $1,998,653 compared to expenses of $1,004,237.
2. Football, Champaign
Profit of $618,576
Champaign and DeKalb have alternated as host cities every other year since 2013 — DeKalb in odd-numbered years and Champaign in even-numbered years — with Illinois football having a home game scheduled the final Saturday in November against Northwestern (of course, the 2015 Illini-Northwestern game took place at Soldier Field in Chicago and the IHSA state title games happened at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb, but that’s in the past). Prior to the every-other-year arrangement, Memorial Stadium hosted 112 state title games from 1999 to 2012.
3. Girls’ volleyball, Normal
Profit of $148,091
The tournament debuted in 1975 at Lantz Gym in Charleston before moving to its current venue, Redbird Arena in Normal on the campus of Illinois State University, in 1990.
4. Baseball, Peoria/Joliet
Profit of $130,969
The four-class system went into effect in 2008 for baseball and since 2011, Peoria’s downtown Dozer Park (the home of Bradley and the Peoria Chiefs, the St. Louis Cardinals’ Class A affiliate) has hosted the Class 1A and 2A state tournaments. Joliet, which started hosting the Class A state tournament in 2006, has kept the 3A and 4A tournaments every year since the four-class system went into effect at DuPage Medical Group Field.
5. Wrestling, Champaign
Profit of $70,449
The individual finals have taken place at State Farm Center in Champaign since 1973, with the dual team finals being held at Bloomington’s Grossinger Motor Arena since 2009.
6. Boys’ soccer, East Peoria/Hoffman Estates
Profit of $55,625
Two cities lay claim to hosting the premier boys’ soccer teams in the state: East Peoria’s EastSide Centre has done so for Class 1A teams since 2016, with the 2A and 3A state tournaments happening at Hoffman Estates High School since 2013.
7. Boys’ track and field, Charleston
Profit of $46,269
The blue track at O’Brien Field on the campus of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston didn’t host athletes this past spring because of COVID-19, the first time since the event moved to Charleston in 1974.
8. Girls’ basketball, Normal
Profit of $34,792
Champaign hosted the state tournament from 1978-91, but Redbird Arena in Normal has held on to it since 1992 and will do so through at least 2023.
9. Girls’ soccer, Naperville
Profit of $34,367
All three classes didn’t get to descend upon Benedetti-Wehril Stadium on North Central College’s campus in Naperville this spring because of the coronavirus pandemic, but the venue has hosted state tournament games since 2002.
10. Girls’ track and field, Charleston
Profit of $22,685
Here’s a rarity: an IHSA state series event that hasn’t moved since its inception. O’Brien Field in Charleston has hosted every girls’ track and field state meet that has taken place since the first one debuted in 1973.
11. Boys’ lacrosse, Hinsdale
Profit of $11,696
The newest state series for a boys’ sport debuted in 2018, with Hinsdale Central High School playing host to the first two state tournaments before this spring’s event was canceled because of COVID-19 pandemic.
12. Girls’ bowling, Rockford
Profit of $7,515
No central Illinois school has ever won a state title in a sport that’s had a state event since 1973, with Cherry Lanes in Rockford its long-time host since 1993.
13. Girls’ swimming and diving, Winnetka/Evanston
Profit of $5,943
The northern Chicago suburbs of Winnetka and Evanston have alternated hosting the finals recently, with Winnetka doing so in 2019, 2017 and 2015 and Evanston in 2018 and 2016. The state finals first took place in 1975 in Winnetka.
14. Softball, East Peoria
Profit of $5,546
East Peoria’s sprawling EastSide Centre complex has turned into the go-to destination for the state’s top softball teams, hosting the state tournament every since 2001.
15. Boys’ bowling, O’Fallon
Profit of $4,936
The only IHSA state series held in the southern part of the state, O’Fallon’s St. Clair Bowl has hosted every state tournament since the first one was conducted in 2003.
16. Boys’ water polo,
Profit of $4,831
Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire hosted the first state tournament in 2002 and has done so in every subsequent year.
17. Girls’ water polo,
Profit of $4,503
Much like its boys’ counterparts, girls’ water polo teams have aimed to reach the pool at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire since the state tournament first started in 2002.
18. Boys’ volleyball,
Profit of $4,413
The same year Champaign lost the boys’ basketball state tournament in 1995, Hoffman Estates High School landed this state tournament — which debuted in 1992. It hasn’t left since.
19. Girls’ lacrosse, Hinsdale
Loss of $1,101
Debuted in 2018 at Hinsdale Central High School, the same year the boys’ lacrosse state series started in the same Chicago suburb.
20. Boys’ swimming and diving, Evanston/Winnetka
Loss of $1,766
The last full state series event in 2020 to be completed before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Evanston and Winnetka have alternated hosting duties recently, much like girls’ swimming, with Evanston doing so in 2020, 2018 and 2016, while Winnetka had the honors in 2019, 2017 and 2015.
21. Badminton, Charleston
Loss of $7,325
Somewhat overshadowed in these parts by the fact state track and field descends upon Charleston at the same time in the spring and the sport is made up mostly of Chicago suburban schools, Eastern Illinois University’s Student Recreation Center has served as host since 2006.
22. Boys’ gymnastics,
Loss of $14,173
First statewide meet held in Champaign in 1952, but Hoffman Estates High School started serving as the sport’s host in 2018.
23. Boys’ tennis, Arlington Heights
Loss of $25,963
Played on 12 different high school courts throughout the Chicago suburbs, Arlington Heights is considered tournament central.
24. Girls’ golf,
Loss of $26,006
The Decatur area has become the focal point for the top girls’ golfers in the state in the last decade, with the Class 1A tournament taking place at Red Tail Run Golf Course in Decatur and the 2A tournament at Hickory Point Golf Club in Forsyth since 2010.
25. Girls’ tennis, Buffalo Grove
Loss of $27,552
Tournament matches played at 12 different high school courts throughout the Chicago suburbs, just like the boys’ tennis tournament, with Buffalo Grove serving as tournament central.
26. Girls’ gymnastics,
Loss of $29,927
The first state meet transpired in 1977 at Maine East High School in Park Ridge, but Palatine High School has called the event home since 1979.
27. Boys’ golf, Bloomington/Normal
Loss of $43,472
Bloomington and Normal both have courses who see competitors. Prairie Vista Golf Course (1A) and The Den at Fox Creek Golf Course (3A) does so in Bloomington, with Weibring Golf Club at Illinois State University doing so in Normal.
28. Girls’ cross-country, Peoria
Loss of $58,713
Last year’s race at Detweiller Park marked the 40th anniversary of the event taking place at the Peoria landmark, which hosted the first girls’ cross-country state meet in 1979.
29. Boys’ cross-country, Peoria
Loss of $62,113
Last fall marked the 50th consecutive year the boys’ state races took place at Detweiller Park in Peoria. Don’t expect the streak to end anytime soon.