Peoria CVB

IHSA Basketball will Play in Peoria through 2015




For Immediate Release

June 16, 2009

Contact: Brent Lonteen (309) 472-2498

(PEORIA) -- IHSA Boys Basketball will be playing in Peoria through the middle of the next decade!  The Illinois High School Association has agreed to extend the current contract with the City of Peoria through the year 2015.  The current contract was set to expire in 2010.  On Monday (June 15) the IHSA Board of Directors voted to suspend the customary practice of requiring bids from cities interested in hosting the state championships and extend Peoria's contract.

"We felt strongly about continuing our great relationship with Peoria," says Dr. Marty Hickman, Executive Director of the IHSA.  "We're very happy in Peoria, and the support from the whole community has been outstanding, so this just makes good sense. "

This marks the fourth time since 1995 Peoria has been awarded a five-year contract to host the boys basketball state championships.

"It has been a winning tradition, for both sides, and we're thrilled to see that tradition continue," says Brad Halverson, Chairman of Peoria's March Madness Steering Committee.  "For the IHSA to award this contract without letting it out for bids speaks volumes about Peoria and the confidence the IHSA has in us."

Halverson credits the dedication of thousands of volunteers, the leadership of the Steering Committee and the commitment of corporate support from the local business community as
keys to Peoria's success. Caterpillar, Ameren Illinois Utilities, OSF and Prairie Farms have all maintained or increased their financial commitment for the next contract term.

 "Without our title sponsors, without the invaluable help of volunteers and without the expertise of organizations like the Peoria Civic Center, Peoria Park District and Bradley University, hosting the crown jewel of youth athletics in Illinois would be impossible."

In addition, the new, 5-year agreement includes unprecedented cooperation from hotels throughout the Peoria Area.  An overwhelming majority of them (nearly 30) have guaranteed, in writing, they will not require fans to stay a minimum number of nights.  They also quoted what their rates will be during each tournament weekend in each year of the contract.  

"And the rates are not only guaranteed, they're good, fan-friendly rates," says Brent Lonteen, President/CEO of the Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.  "Our hoteliers recognize what a good thing it is for the Peoria Area to host this premiere event, and they have never taken that for granted by charging exorbitant rates or requiring fans to stay extra nights.  This time, they're putting that good business practice in writing."

Lonteen says the IHSA Boys Basketball tournaments produce a local economic impact in the millions of dollars.

"Fans stay in hotels, eat at restaurants, and perhaps go shopping, take in an attraction or fill up with gas," he says. "While they do that, there is a direct benefit to those business owners and to our various tax bases - hotel, restaurant, amusement, gas and sales."

The IHSA has organized high school boys basketball state championship tournament for more than 100 years.  The first tournament was held in Peoria in 1908, and it played in Peoria until the tournament was moved to Champaign in 1919.  It stayed there for 76 years until returning to Peoria in 1996.



The Illinois High School Association, founded in 1900, is a not-for-profit organization of over 750 public and private high schools. The IHSA is governed by an eleven-member Board of Directors who are principals of member schools. One member, the treasurer, is appointed by the Board and does not vote.

Through its administrative staff of one executive director and eight assistant executive directors, the IHSA regulates interscholastic competition in 13 sports for boys and 13 sports for girls, as well as 7 non-athletic activities. The IHSA stages state final events in all of these sports and activities except music.

Its mission: to govern the equitable participation in interscholastic athletics and activities that enrich the educational experience.

The IHSA is a charter member of the National Federation of State High School Associations, a group of 51 state associations. The IHSA Offices are located in Bloomington, Illinois.


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