by Laura Weisskopf Bleill
Great news, Illinois fans: effective immediately, it is now free to go to most University of Illinois regular-season sporting events.
The notable exceptions are football, men’s and women’s basketball, and volleyball. The decision was made by athletics director Ron Guenther, according to Elizabeth Klatt, director of marketing in the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.
“He decided this would be a great way to reward families for attending our events and make this a feasible option for everyone,” Klatt said in a phone interview on Thursday.
Klatt noted that ticket prices for most events had been stagnant over the last decade or so. Admission to events such as baseball and gymnastics ranged from $3 to $5 per person.
The full list of free sports includes: Illinois wrestling, gymnastics, track & field, baseball, softball, soccer, golf, tennis, and swimming/diving.
The free admission policy has no end date as of right now.
“This could last a couple of years; or this could last indefinitely, depending on what kind of response we have in the local community,” Klatt said.
Klatt also said there are no plans to discontinue any of the “premier promotions” events the DIA organizes for each sport. Premier promotions usually involve freebies such as food and activities for kids.
Parking at each “Olympic sports” event also will continue to be free; as of this year, parking is also free at women’s basketball games.
That means more money in your pocket for — you got it — concessions. Because what kid can stay away from candy, pretzels and popcorn?