1060 West Addison, Chicago, Illinois – Wrigley Field is one of the most storied venues in all of sports. The bleacher seats, hand-turned scoreboard and the ivy covered outfield walls are some of Chicago’s most well known landmarks. Since 1914, Wrigley Field has been home to legendary sports figures like Ernie Banks, Ryne Sandberg, Sammy Sosa, and Harry Carey. Now, Wrigley field will play host to “Chicago’s B1G Team” the Northwestern Wildcats.
The Chicago Tribune reports, Wrigley Field and Northwestern University will announce a broad partnership that will result in Wrigley hosting a number of Northwestern sporting events. The partnership would involve Northwestern baseball, softball, soccer and lacrosse this year. While it is unlikely Wrigley would host any Wildcat football games this year there is speculation that Northwestern football could be hosting games in the “friendly confines” as early as 2014 after Wrigley’s schedule reconstruction is complete. The reconstruction should widen Wrigley Field to create a regulation college football field.
In order to avoid potential playoff or World Series games (I know but it could happen) the most likely games for Northwestern to host in 2014 would be Iowa on Nov. 8 or Illinois on November 29.
Northwestern hosted Illinois in Wrigley Field in 2010. The game drew a lot of attention including ESPN Gameday. The planned $500 million renovations will hopefully expand the playing area both teams were not forced to play to the same endzone as they were in this game.
Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts supports the alliance.
In an October interview with the Tribune, Ricketts forecasted more football games at Wrigley, called the 2010 Illinois-NU game “one of the greatest days in Wrigley Field history” and said: “When I saw the Northwestern band on the field at halftime, I almost cried.”
This is a great move for both Northwestern University and the B1G Conference. In the last few years, Northwestern University has been pushing the notion that NU is Chicago’s B1G team. Chicago is the jewel of the traditional B1G Conference. However, Northwestern has traditionally been little more than an afterthought. Northwestern’s fanbase is notoriously blase regarding sport. Ryan Field is small, lacking in proper facilities (bathrooms), and is rarely filled to capacity. When it is filled it is mostly by an influx of the visiting teams fans.
Playing in Wrigley further endears Northwestern to Chicago while maintaining its northern Chicago roots. Playing in Wrigleyville makes the experience of attending a game all the more attractive and easier to those already in or visiting the city. Tailgating in Evanston was always a let down compared to other B1G venues. Wrigley is only a few stops on the train down from Evanston for all the diehard Wildcat supporters.
Wrigley will make a pleasant second home for Northwestern athletics.