Wednesday, the 26th tipped off the 40th anniversary of the State Farm Holiday Classic Basketball Tournament.
This means over the next four days 80 high school teams, including 16 special Olympic teams, will be competing to be crowned the best. But while traveling so close to the holidays may not be ideal for teams, it’s great for Bloomington-Normal.
“We know that we bring a lot of visitors to Bloomington-Normal,” said the tournament’s Venue Supervisor, Chris Highland. “We hope that we can showcase our town some of those sponsors and other people in the community as well.”
The State Farm Classic is an invitational for teams from all over the state of Illinois. The players love it because it provides an element for great exposure. The sponsors love it because it helps them out during a slow season.
“About half of our 64 teams probably spend at least one or two nights in hotels so they’re going to eat out, they’re going to shop, so its definitely a big economic impact for our community,” said the tournament’s Operations Manager, Dave Oloffson.
Oloffson went on to say, although the city is benefiting a great deal from this tournament, the joy and the success of it, ultimately comes back to the players and the coaches.
“A lot of the coaches see this as a great bonding experience for their team,” he said. “It gets them out of wherever they are coming from, gets them away from everything, just a great chance to bond during this.”
The tournament started on the 26th but it will go on until Saturday the 29th. For more information about the tournament or if you want to see some scores visit theclassic.org.