CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA)–After the Big Ten Championship Game, Green Street on campus town was flooded with orange and blue. The overtime thriller sent fans spilling out into the streets and into an atmosphere that hasn’t been seen in years.
Saying the excitement on campus town was immense is a drastic understatement. Once again, the Illini are big ten champions. One fan said, to him, it’s almost too good to be true.
“Look around you,” Pierre Azar said. “Look at the streets of Champaign, it’s a 16 year championship drought, and to finally get it… The city is alive, it’s amazing, it’s an electric feeling.”
Fans aren’t the only ones soaking up all the buzz and excitement. Good basketball means good business. At Gameday Spirit on Green St., their shift manager Caitlyn Barnes said they’ve been busier than ever as they try to keep up with the swarming demand for all things Illini.
“It’s been a lot more fun to work,” She said, “because everyone is so high energy and buying all the Illini gear they can.”
It’s also been good fortune for some restaurants in town. At Eclipse, fans were glued to the TV screens just like it was 2005. Their manager Lisa Staple said it almost felt like a true return to normal.
“It’s been a long year, as everybody knows. We’ve got plenty of loyal customers and it’s so nice having them back,” Staples said. “We’ve been here for 46 years, and this is what we live for.”