Assembly Hall, nicknamed “The House of ‘Paign,” has been the home of the Illinois Fighting Illini Men’s and Women’s basketball teams since 1963. The arena was the first concrete dome ever built and from 1963 to 1965 was the largest domed structure in North America.
Today, Assembly Hall sits 15,500 after undergoing several renovations throughout its history. The most recent renovation to the arena took place after the 2013-14 season and cost $169.5 million. The upgrade made improvements to the luxury suites and club seats and added new blue seats. During this renovation, the university also added the option to purchase alcoholic beverages in the luxury seating sections.
Over the years Assembly Hall has hosted many big games in Illini history as well as many IHSA high school sporting events. Assembly Hall has been the home of the IHSA Wrestling Tournament since 1967 and was the site of the IHSA Boys Basketball Tournament from 1963 to 1995. On December 3, 1990, UW-Milwaukee’s Von McDade dropped 50 points setting the record for most points scored in one game at Assembly Hall. That same game the Illini’s Andy Kaufman scored 46 points, the most for any Illinois player in the history of Assembly Hall.
Memorial Stadium in Champaign, IL has served as the home of the Illinois Fighting Illini since 1923 when it replaced Illinois Field. The stadium is named in memoriam of all the University of Illinois students who lost their lives fighting in World War I and features over 200 pillars filled with the names of these brave students. The stadium is also home to the bell of the USS Illinois, which is rung every time the Illini score.
Memorial Stadium opened with a capacity of 55,524 in 1923 and over the years has seen several renovations and expansions to get to its present day capacity of 60,670. Throughout the stadium’s history, its capacity has ebbed and flowed with the stadium holding as many as 71,227 from 1964 to 1982. Memorial Stadium saw its first significant addition in 1967 when a press box was built on top of the west balcony. The stadium has had artificial turf since 1974 when AstroTurf was first installed, however the playing surface has been replaced several times since then and today uses FieldTurf. In 1991 Memorial Stadium underwent its first major facelift when the stadium’s concrete bleachers were replaced with metal bleachers in the east and west upper decks. Then in 2006 the stadium began undergoing the “Illinois Renaissance” renovation project, which saw improvements made to the concourse, restrooms, and horseshoe. Most recently in 2013 a new 36 ft by 96 ft scoreboard and new sound system were added along with new lettering along the facade between the upper and lower deck.
Throughout its illustrious history, Memorial Stadium has hosted several other events besides Illini football. From 1977 to 1979, Memorial Stadium was home to the NCAA Division 1 Men’s Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The stadium also has hosted the Illinois state high school football championships since 1999 and even served as the home of the Chicago Bears during the 2002 season when Soldier Field was being renovated