Artist's rendering of the Northwestern Football at Wrigley Field event [Chicago Cubs graphic]

Northwestern Makes It Official:
NU-Illinois Game at Wrigley

by GoUPurple

As purple banners flew high over the stadium scoreboard, Northwestern and the Chicago Cubs held a press conference at Wrigley Field on Friday and announced that the Wildcats will host the University of Illinois at Wrigley Field this year.  The game will be held on the morning of Saturday, November 20 and will be broadcast on one of the ESPN channels.

NU Athletic Director Jim Phillips reiterated that safety was a chief concern, asking "could we safely... put a football field in Wrigley Field?"  He described the investigation that followed, which concluded that Wrigley Field could, indeed, be made safe for college football.  Phillips called the Wrigley Field event a chance to "showcase a world-class institution.  This is another way to bring people to the front porch of Northwestern."  He also mentioned that the game is a way to increase season tickets, despite the fact that the game will NOT be included in season ticket packages (see below).

Coach Fitzgerald tied the game into Chicago tradition, and of seeing "another player who wore #51," Dick Butkus, play at Wrigley Field for the Bears.

Notably absent from today's announcement was any sign of the Illini.  No one from Illinois was present for the announcement, and Wrigley was decked out in purple, with nary a shred of blue or orange visible.  Clearly, the Cubs and NU are setting the tone that this will be a Northwestern home game, set at Wrigley Field.

The game will mark the first off-campus home game for NU since the 'Cats hosted Oklahoma at Soldier Field for the 1997 Pigskin Classic.  It is the first football game at Wrigley field since the Bears left the venue in 1970, and it is the first time NU has hosted a football game at Wrigley since NU hosted Illinois and Red Grange there on October 27, 1923 (scroll down this page for more details of the '23 game).

According to the Q&A session regarding the event, now posted at, "In order to purchase a ticket for the November 20 game, fans must purchase season tickets for Northwestern's five home games at Ryan Field....  Northwestern Football at Wrigley Field is NOT included in your season ticket package. However, only season ticket holders have the opportunity to purchase tickets for Northwestern Football at Wrigley Field."  While requiring season tickets for a Wrigley game purchase might drive up season ticket sales, it remains to be seen how keeping the Wrigley tickets separate from the season tickets could potentially affect NU fan attendance at the Wrigley event.

For more info about the Wrigley game, be sure to check out Adam Rittenberg's Friday post.

UPDATE: has released the Wrigley Field seating chart.

The NU-Illinois game date is posted on the Wrigley Field scoreboard.

Dignitaries, including Mike Adamle, Pat Ryan, Crane Kenney (Cubs president),
and NU athletic department officials take the stage before the announcement.

Dave Eanet makes the formal announcement, as Willie gazes on.

Virginia McCaskey reminisces about the Bears and their time at Wrigley Field.

NU Athletic Director Jim Phillips discusses the event.

Fitz: this is "a once in a lifetime opportunity."

Cubs and other officials get ready to try on their new Northwestern jerseys.