Fans need more than just a ticket to watch the Fighting Illini


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — “It doesn’t stop me from having a good time,” Laura Curtis, an Illini fan, said.

That was the attitude of most fans attending tonight’s Fighting Illini game at the State Farm Center. There are new rules in place to before fans can take their seats. Fans have to bring more than just their ticket to get inside and for most it didn’t seem like a big deal.

People started lining up at 4:00 PM and the line did not let up until a few minutes after the game started at 6:00 PM. Most people said they didn’t mine the new regulations to get into the game.

“We wanted to be sure that we didn’t get stopped and take more time that we need to,” Karen Rice, an Illini fan, said.

That’s why people started lining up before the gates opened at the State Farm Center, all to watch the Illini Men’s basketball game, but getting in now looks different for fans.

“We’re ready to go with our COVID cards and our ID’s and we’re prepared and we’re very thankful that these precautions are being taken,” Curtis said.

Fans had to have proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test to watch the game. The negative test has to be within the last three days and can’t be an at-home test, but that didn’t stop fans from lining up to watch the Fighting Illini.

“A mask isn’t going to keep me from cheering the Illini on to victory,” Curtis said.

“We love Illinois so we’ll do anything to watch them,” Ryan Klopfenstein, an Illini fan, said.

The game started at 6:00 PM and the State Farm Center opened their doors earlier than normal at 4:30 PM, in hopes to make sure fans got through in time for tip off. Fans were already lining up well before that.

“When we pulled in we saw all of the cars, we were a little nervous, but everything, yeah they’re doing a great job,” Curtis said. “Everything’s going real smooth.”

Most people attending the game didn’t mind the extra precautions, but hope fans follow the rules.

“They say wear a mask, but when people walk in they take off their mask and they don’t wear them anymore and that’s not fair to me,” Rice said. “That’s not fair to everybody else there.”

They also know this is becoming a new normal.

“This is our life right now and its what you make of it so you might as well go out and have a good time,” Curtis said.

“Its just the way of our world forevermore,” Rice said.

WCIA reporters did see one man who was upset he had to be vaccinated to attend the game. He had his tickets and wanted to get in, but was not allowed without a negative Covid test or vaccination results. People without masks were also turned away at the door until they returned with a mask.

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