NPR from Illinois State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Grossinger Motors Arena Seeks New Basketball Team After Hiatus

Grossinger Motors Arena at night
Grossinger Motors Arena is in talks with a professional league to bring basketball back to Bloomington.

It’s been three years since Grossinger Motors Arena hosted basketball but that could be about to change.

Director Lynn Cannon told GLT’s Sound Ideas the venue is in talks with a professional league to bring basketball back to Bloomington. She said the team would play in the late winter into the summer.

Lynn Cannon
Credit Eric Stock / WGLT
Lynn Cannon took over as director of Grossinger Motors Arena in December 2016.

Cannon said there's already a strong fan base for basketball and it wouldn't be competing with the college of high school hoops for attendance.

“If you are looking to see a professional basketball game, it’s a little bit different than what’s also available here in this community and I also think it would be a draw. I think that those (schools) would also be interested in seeing that next level and that we would potentially have a great fan base already built in,” Cannon said.

The Bloomington Flex, a pro team, last played at the arena in 2015, but struggled to establish a fan base. The arena, when known as U.S. Cellular Coliseum was operated by Central Illinois Arena Management. VenuWorks took over in April 2016. 

Cannon said she believes a new pro team could be successful if it's marketed the right way.

“Advertising is the key to any type of event we have here in our building,” Cannon said. “I think with the right person and the right group leading the charge and letting people know the events are happening here, we certainly could be very well off as far as attendance is concerned.”

The arena also hosted the State Farm Holiday Classic in 2015. Cannon said the arena hasn’t submitted any bids to host IHSA basketball events but would look to do so in the future if it can reduce scheduling conflicts.

Its primary tenant, the Central Illinois Flying Aces hockey team, plays 30 homes games each season.

Cannon said the arena still has its old basketball court in storage. It's been used for dance team and other events.

WGLT depends on financial support from users to bring you stories and interviews like this one. As someone who values experienced, knowledgeable, and award-winning journalists covering meaningful stories in Central Illinois, please consider making a contribution.

Eric Stock is a reporter at WGLT.