CHAMPAIGN — The Champaign administration is recommending the city contribute $50,000 per year to help the community bring back the IHSA boys’ basketball state tournament.
Visit Champaign County is putting together a bid for the 2021, 2022, and 2023 tournaments, which is due by Jan. 10.
Champaign-Urbana had hosted the tournament from 1919 to 1995, when it lost out to Peoria.
When the community last bid in 2014, Champaign committed $30,000 per year to the $750,000 bid, plus $20,000 per year to Visit Champaign County to pay for additional staffing needs related to the tournament.
This year, the entire $50,000 would go directly to the bid, which will be discussed by the city council Tuesday in a study session.
“This would represent a $20,000 increase in the direct contribution to the IHSA compared to what was included in the 2014 proposal, likely helping to make the community’s current proposal more competitive,” Deputy City Manager Matt Roeschley wrote in a report to the city council.
If the tournament returns to Champaign-Urbana, the city expects it will more than make up its contribution in increased tax revenue.
Between more than $28,000 in increased hotel/motel tax revenue and nearly $51,000 from increased sales, motor fuel and food-and-beverage taxes, the city thinks the tournament could bring in an additional $79,000 a year in tax revenue.
“The amount of the city’s pledge will be covered by new revenue growth that is directly attributable to hosting the tournament,” Roeschley wrote.
He also said the commitment would “demonstrate strong city support” for the bid and show “a commitment to continue to brand Champaign as a destination for youth sports tournaments.”
It also hosts the state wrestling tournament and the football tournament every other year.
The tournament is expected to increase hotel occupancy during the tournament by 34 percent and produce $4.8 million in economic impact on the community, according to Visit Champaign County.
In the new, condensed format the IHSA has adopted beginning with the 2021 tournament, the entire boys’ tournament will be held in one weekend.
Since this new format was announced, local officials have indicated a desire to bring the tournament back to C-U, and last month, Visit Champaign County held a kickoff meeting at Memorial Stadium with local stakeholders.
The IHSA is expected to decide in March which community will host. Peoria is also planning to bid.