CHAMPAIGN, Ill., (WCIA) — Another Saturday full of Fighting Illini Football in Champaign, but not without changes to move fans into the stadium faster. It included added fireworks, more lines and extra staff. 

It comes after long lines at the home opener a few weeks ago.

Cassie Arner, the senior associate director of athletics, said everything ran smoothly. 

“Separating some of the bags and ticketing from each other was a huge help,” she said. “Some of the things we did with concession lines, creating free water stations, all those things alleviate some lines in those areas.”

Derrick Chen, an event services employee, said even though this was the first game with the operational changes, it was a smooth process. On Saturday, he worked in the bag check lines.

“We had four lanes, everybody went through. No complaining,” he said. 

He added that he sent a few people back to their cars with large bags that weren’t a part of the stadium’s clear bag policy. 

Many fans said they were happy with the adjustments. 

“We just walked right in, no problems scanning,” Bob Crowley, an Illinois fan, said. “They just scanned the code and walked right in.”

He said he heard the new fireworks go off an hour before kick-off and it was a good reminder to start walking over early. 

At the home opener on Aug. 27, Tom Kolik said he waited in long lines with other fans. But on Saturday, he noticed a difference. 

The Illinois Athletic Department also tweeted about nationwide technical difficulties today, on a popular ticketing app Paciolan.


Despite the glitch, Arner said everything ran smoothly and that the app was up and running again right before most people entered the game. But, she said if people were having trouble, they still let the fan in. 

Kolik said he came prepared and spent an extra $5 on a paper ticket. 

Illinois Football’s next home game is Thursday, Sept. 22. Arner said they are expecting a lot of students at the game and will continue to implement the same improvements.