‘The Coliseum of Champions’ | Springfield, Illinois | Visit Springfield

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Update: September 4

Thank you for following along with us as we shared the story of the renovation of the Coliseum of Champions at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. The City of Springfield is extremely excited to have this venue open and accepting reservation for future shows and events. With that being said, dates are filling up extremely fast, so if you are considering the Coliseum of Champions for a show, please inquire as soon as possible. The Illinois Department of Agriculture is working diligently with groups to accommodate preferred dates.

Interested in seeing the venue, please CONTACT US and see just how prestigious this venue is! Updates and maintenance projects are taking place across the entire Fairgrounds, so come check out what’s new in Springfield!

Check out the Time Lapse video here.

Update: August 1  

Restored to its original glory, the Coliseum of Champions is officially “Open For Business!”  

The historic project was completed by Springfield-based contractors, RD Lawrence, in mid-July and turned back over to the IL Department of Agriculture in preparation for the 2019 Illinois State Fair, August 8-18.

Now open for the public to visit and enjoy, as well as serving as home to many events and shows throughout the IL State Fair, the Coliseum of Champions is the not to be missed showpiece of the fairgrounds! 

We welcome you to contact us regarding hosting your next event in the prestigious Coliseum of Champions.  Reservations for event rental are now open and filling quickly!


Update: June 21

Crews are making headway on the 'Coliseum of Champions' as the completion date for the renovation is drawing near. This week, the roofing phase of the project has begun.  Prep-work and maintenance has also started on the Fairgrounds as the Department of Agriculture prepares for the ten day Illinois State Fair. Kickoff for the Fair begins on August 8th and continues through August 18th, 2019.


Update: June 3

Progress continues and the sights and sounds of construction are ever-apparent on the Illinois State Fairgrounds. The $10.2 million dollar renovation of the ‘Coliseum of Champions’ is in full swing.  Despite battling less than stellar weather conditions this month, crews can be seen working diligently to keep the project on the targeted completion date of July 20th, 2019. Excitement is building as more groups sign on for future events in the renovated space.   


Built in 1901, the Coliseum at the Illinois State Fairgrounds stands at the epicenter of the 366-acre Illinois State Fairgrounds. The stately brick and limestone amphitheater seats over 2,500 guests, making it the perfect venue for equine shows and exhibitions.

The operation of such a unique venue takes time, manpower, and capital to operate. The 115 year old structure is still standing despite years of deferred maintenance and weather, both of which have led to the venue being shuttered and deemed structurally unsafe in 2016.

The closure caused groups that host annual business at the Coliseum to find alternative venues, leaving the city of Springfield with a bleak outlook in the hosting of future shows and events. In an effort to see this historic treasure in its glory again, the Illinois State Fairgrounds Foundation was created and began soliciting donations to restore the facility. Numerous donations, including a $1 Million contribution from former Governor and Mrs. Rauner, as well as newly-elected Governor J.B. Pritzker contributing over half of the money raised from ticket sales for his inaugural gala this past January, have now enabled the Coliseum to be restored and ready to host prestigious events once again.

Dubbed by Illinoisans as ‘The Coliseum’, the Illinois State Fairgrounds Foundation developed a contest for students involved in 4-H, FFA or Junior Horseman’s Council to submit suggestions for naming rights to the newly renovated arena. The winning name, ‘The Coliseum of Champions’ was selected.

Springfield based contractors, R.D. Lawrence are leading the estimated $10.2 million dollar project and have an expected completion date of July 20th, 2019. Check back often for progress photos and updates as the renovation nears completion.


The ‘Coliseum of Champions’ is one of the many venues on the Illinois State Fairgrounds available for events.  To see all the Illinois State Fairgrounds and Springfield has to offer contact Hannah Johnson for a site tour.