CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WAND) - One Illini football game can bring in millions of dollars in revenue into Champaign County.
With Big Ten sports making a comeback, that means fans can experience weekend college football again. Mike Koon, who is the play-by-play voice for Illini women's basketball, said college football is a staple in central Illinois.
"We take pride in the fact that the fall means weekend football," Koon said.
Koon is also the director of sports, events and film with Visit Champaign County. His role is to 'enhance sports events' in the region.
COVID-19 blocked so many traditional sports events that bring in millions into the county. Koon said one of the biggest sports events is the Illinois Marathon. It reportedly brings in $9 million of revenue. He said one Illini game at Memorial Stadium can bring $3 million into the county.
The school's football schedule is not final, but the Illini are supposed to play at least four games at Memorial Stadium. Athletic officials told WAND News football games this year won't involve fans. However, officials are working on having family of players and staff attend.
"Certainly it's not what 2019 was, but we'll take it," Koon said.
It is not a lot, but football is still something Koon looks forward to experiencing again.