State Farm Center Announces Enhancements to Fan Experience at Venue Events for 2019-20 Season

Thursday | Aug. 15, 2019

Changes Coming to Security, Ticketing, Wi-Fi, and Parking

Champaign, Ill.  – State Farm Center announced today a variety of enhancements coming to the venue for the 2019-20 entertainment and Illini basketball seasons.  Among the changes are new walk-through metal detectors at venue entrances, the availability of mobile ticket delivery and scanning, an upgraded public Wi-Fi network throughout the building, and the ability to sell prepaid parking and accept credit card and mobile payments on site in parking lots.


SECURITY: Following last year’s implementation of a Clear Bag Policy, the State Farm Center is further expanding its security protocol to include walk-through metal detectors at all entrances to the building.  A total of 29 metal detector units have been installed following an investment of nearly $95,000. 


To ensure a safe environment and experience for everyone, all guests will be subject to screening by the devices, which will be utilized for all public events at the venue going forward.  Patrons will need to remove items like cell phones, cameras, eyeglasses cases, and any other large metal objects.  Meanwhile, keys, coins, belts, wallets, shoes, jackets, and most watches and jewelry will not need to be removed during the screening.  Anyone with a health condition or other concerns about being screened with the walk-through detectors may request an alternative method of screening.  A list of frequently asked questions and answers will be made available on


An update to current policy is also being made to allow patrons to bring in iPads and empty plastic water bottles up to 32 oz. in size to future events.


John Marquardt, Associate Director, Event Administration on the addition of metal detectors: “The safety of our patrons is of the utmost importance to all of us at State Farm Center.  With that in mind, we are excited to be able to add another tool to help ensure that all patrons have a safe, enjoyable experience at all of our events going forward.  We strive to stay at the forefront of safety and security best practices in our industry and these devices allow us to do that.”


TICKETING: Patrons will now be able to elect mobile delivery of tickets to be scanned directly from their smart phone, eliminating the need for paper tickets or print at home tickets.  The mobile tickets will be optimized for smart phones and help ensure an easier purchase and venue entry process while helping to eliminate lost, stolen, and counterfeit tickets.  Mobile ticketing allows patrons to manage their tickets directly from their phone, with the capability to transfer, reissue, or resell their tickets at any time.


Jason Heggemeyer, Associate Athletics Director for Ticketing and Sales and Customer Service on the addition of mobile ticketing options: “For many patrons, their first interaction with State Farm Center is through the ticket buying process, and the introduction of mobile ticketing will greatly enhance that experience. We are excited that we can now offer the ability to use their phone for access into State Farm Center and a myriad of additional amenities that come with this technology.”


WI-FI:  State Farm Center has partnered with Fighting Illini Sports Technology and the University to design and install additional free public Wi-Fi access points throughout the venue.  Nearly 90 new access points have been installed in the seating bowl and another 160 access points throughout the building are being upgraded to ensure guests can connect with their mobile devices at entertainment events and Illini Athletics events going forward.  Additionally, Bluetooth beacons are being installed to assist with wayfinding throughout the venue.  The significant investment in this technology exhibits the commitment by both State Farm Center and DIA to the enhancement of the patron experience at all events.


Nick Rogers, Associate Athletics Director, Sports Technology on Wi-Fi enhancements: “The new, free Wi-Fi coverage in State Farm Center will enhance the guest experience by allowing fans to connect to one of the fastest Wi-Fi installations in the country. We’re looking forward to offering new experiences in the future that wouldn’t be possible without this high-speed wireless.”


PARKING: Patrons will now have the option to pre-purchase parking passes during the ticket buying process and have the passes delivered directly to their mobile device.  Additionally, parking lot attendants will now be able to accept credit card and mobile payments at lot entrances from patrons wishing to pay as they enter the lot.  Cash will be accepted along with all four major credit cards and NFC options, Apple Pay and Android Pay.  Parking purchased in advance at the time of a ticket purchase will be $13, while passes purchased on site at the time of entry to a lot will be $15.


Kevin Ullestad, Senior Associate Athletics Director and Director of State Farm Center on all enhancements: “Our top priorities as a venue are to enhance the guest experience and offer a safe and secure environment to enjoy live entertainment. The upgrades we are announcing today display our commitment to both as we look forward to an exciting season of concerts, events, and Illini Basketball!”