Blog Entry

Northwestern wants to keep playing at Wrigley

Posted on: April 18, 2011 1:01 pm

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The game played between Northwestern and Illinois at Wrigley Field last November was panned critically, and for good reason. Due to a lack of space behind the east zone, the game was played with the offense continually moving towards the west end zone where there was more space between the back of the end zone and a brick wall. Which made the game an easy target of jokes, but the fact is, the game was quite successful for Northwestern both in the financial sense and in a marketing sense.

So much so that according to a report in the Chicago Tribune this weekend, Northwestern would like to make its date at Wrigley Field an annual affair.

The Nov. 20 game was such a financial and marketing success that Cubs and Northwestern officials have talked about putting an annual Wrigley Field game on the calendar, sources told the Tribune.

But that won't happen until the Cubs renovate their ballpark. Once it secures funding, the team hopes to create space for a regulation 100-yard field by manipulating walls in at least one dugout area.

I was at the game in November, and while only one end zone being in play took a few minutes to get used to, it did not really hinder the game. The fact was that the atmosphere of the game at Wrigley easily surpassed any atmosphere you'll come across at Northwestern's Dyche Stadium in Evanston. The biggest difference being that the stands were packed, which just doesn't happen at Northwestern home games in Evanston. I said following the game that I'd like to see more football played at Wrigley Field, and that opinion still stands today.

If a way to include both end zones can be found, even better.



Since: Sep 20, 2008
Posted on: April 18, 2011 1:48 pm

Northwestern wants to keep playing at Wrigley

I am a Northwestern alum who also was at the Wrigley game, and it was definitely a great atmosphere.  But 2 factual corrections to the story need to be made:

First, if you look at NU's home game attendances from the 2010 season, the 2 home games prior to the Illinois game (Michigan State and Iowa) in Evanston both had larger attendances than the game at Wrigley.  In fact, the Iowa home game was soldout.  And I can tell you, those two games were unquestionably pro-NU home crowds.  So to say the stands aren't packed in Evanston isn't completely true.  Yes, the stands may be a little light for nonconference games in the past, but attendance in Evanston tends to jump up in Big Ten play.

Second, NU's home football stadium has not gone by that name in around 15 years.

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