College football is coming to Wrigley Field, as Northwestern and the University of Wisconsin will meet at the iconic ballpark in 2020.
The Chicago Cubs have worked for the past several years to modernize Wrigley Field and add more non-baseball events to the ballpark’s calendar, including college football. It was therefore expected that a Wrigley Field college football game was in the works for the coming years, and now those plans have been made official. It was revealed Tuesday that the Northwestern Wildcats will host the Wisconsin Badgers at the ballpark on November 7, 2020.
“We are thrilled to return to one of the truly iconic venues in all of sports,” said Northwestern Vice President for Athletics & Recreation Jim Phillips. “We’re so appreciative of the collaboration with Tom Ricketts, Crane Kenney and the entire Cubs organization that made this a reality. This is a date that college football fans across the country will be looking forward to until it arrives.”
Chicago’s Big Ten Team returns to the Friendly Confines for the first time since November 20, 2010, the first college football game in the venue since 1938. ESPN College GameDay originated its broadcast from the corner of Clark and Addison, with the historic Wrigley Field marquee —painted purple — serving as the backdrop.
“Northwestern has established itself as a rising football program and we are excited to begin this partnership as the Wildcats enter into a great era of success,” said Crane Kenney, president, Business Operations, Chicago Cubs. “This will be a great match-up of two premiere Big Ten football programs and this event will be one of the hottest tickets in Chicago.”
“This type of experience, just nine miles south of campus, is only available at a place like Northwestern,” said Dan & Susan Jones Family Head Football Coach Pat Fitzgerald. “The opportunity to create a bowl game environment for our student-athletes and fans, in the midst of the November battle for the Big Ten West, is one we’re extremely thankful for. It’s one of many big games we’ll host in Chicagoland over the next several years.”
In February 2013, Northwestern and the Cubs signed an event and marketing partnership that promised five future football games and a variety of other Wildcats competitions at the historic ballpark. Shortly after the agreement was struck, Wildcats lacrosse defeated USC inside the Friendly Confines, and Northwestern baseball blanked Michigan behind a nine-strikeout, three-hit complete game by current Cubs pitcher Luke Farrell.
The Chicago Bears called the ballpark home from 1921 to 1970 featuring several NFL greats before relocating to Soldier Field.
Ticket information for the 2020 matchup at Wrigley Field will be announced at a later date.
Image: NFL Championship game, December 29, 1963, as Bears hosted the New York Giants.