AD apologizes for fan trouble at Illini’s first home football game | News

Do you have anything to say about Saturday’s experience, like the people who called and texted during WDWS’s “Monday Morning Quarterbacks” show? Send it here as a letter to the editor.

The Illinois soccer team opened its 2022 season with an emphatic 38-6 victory against Wyoming on Saturday afternoon.

But aside from what Chase Brown, Tommy DeVito and other players accomplished on Bret Bielema’s show at Memorial Stadium, one main story emerged: fan unhappiness.

Long lines outside Memorial Stadium prevented some of the advertised crowd of 37,832 from entering the 60,670-capacity venue for the 3 p.m. kickoff. Other fan complaints also included long waits at concession stands and problems paying for items.







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Grange Grove was in an uproar ahead of Illinois’ season opener on Saturday. (Holly Hart/The News-Gazette)


Late Tuesday morning, Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman issued a 198-word statement apologizing “for what happened on Saturday.”

“We sincerely regret the challenges that many of our fans experienced while attending our football game against Wyoming on Saturday. All of us at Illinois Athletics are beyond grateful for the loyal and enthusiastic support that so many fans show our team this week.” week after week. week after week,” Whitman said.

“We understand the commitment it takes to attend our games, both in terms of time and money, and we will never take for granted the faith our ticket holders have in us to deliver an experience worth their investment.

“This is true, of course, for what happens on the field, but just as true, if not more so, for what happens off the field. From parking and tailgating to stadium entry and concessions, we need to do better.” Following Saturday’s issues, we are reviewing all aspects of our game day operation and are committed to making the necessary improvements to deliver the kind of experience our fans want and deserve. We will communicate these changes in advance of our next game on home on September 10.

“We apologize for what occurred on Saturday and look forward to welcoming our fans back to Memorial Stadium with an experience that meets our high standards.”

The Illini are on the road this Friday night playing Indiana before hosting Virginia at 3 pm Sept. 10 at Memorial Stadium.

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