CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — It’s official: Urbana-Champaign has defeated Champaign-Urbana with a final score of 94-82 in their recent battle of the official name of the twin cities.
Visit Champaign County created the contest to answer a century-old question: Should the twin cities be collectively referred to as “Champaign-Urbana” or “Urbana-Champaign?”
“Visitors, new residents, and even current residents are always asking us how the cities are referred,” said Terri Reifsteck, Visit Champaign County Vice President of Marketing and Community Engagement. “We wanted to find a way to receive a public opinion about this and see what everyone thought. The community was very excited about it.”
Beginning in mid-October, the contest was to see which name sold more t-shirts: “Team Champaign-Urbana” or “Team Urbana-Champaign.” Part of the “Chambana Proud” line, t-shirts featured either name along with artist Ralph Roether’s reference to Wright St., the U of I street serving as the cities’ border.
“Urbana was pretty nervous going into the contest,” said Reifsteck. “They are a very involved community and residents are passionate about the town, just like in Champaign.”
The battle of the names began circa 1906 when U of I President Edmund James and Board of Trustee Member Mary Busey officially listed “Urbana-Champaign” as the university’s official address. The university’s name hasn’t changed since.
Reifsteck said the contest was a neck-and-neck battle during the few months it happened. The communities knew the contest was coming to a close on New Year’s Eve, and Reifsteck said Urbana residents wanted the name to win.
“We expected many U of I alumni to buy their respective shirts too,” said Reifsteck, “and they did. However, Champaign residents will probably still refer to their name being the best one.”
The contest resulted in 176 t-shirts sold, raising $712 for the Champaign County History Museum.
“It was all in good fun,” said Reifsteck. “We are going to keep our eyes and ears open for fun community events like these in the near future.”
Visit Champaign County shared the results on Facebook Tuesday, and also extended its thanks to every organization and community member for participating and making this contest possible.