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Northwestern and Wisconsin to Meet at Wrigley Field in 2020

Chicago Bears at Wrigley Field, 1963

More information is emerging on a 2020 college football game at Wrigley Field, as Northwestern will reportedly host Wisconsin at the home of the Chicago Cubs. 

As they continue with ongoing renovations to Wrigley Field, the Cubs have been working to include more non-baseball events in the ballpark’s calendar. Concerts have been a big part of that initiative, but college football games have also been expected to be included in the long-term plans for the ballpark.

Wrigley Field is slated to host a college football game in November 2020, with the matchup featuring Northwestern and Wisconsin. A formal announcement about the game is expected to occur next Tuesday, according to The Chicago Tribune:

Northwestern has chosen its Nov. 7, 2020, game against Wisconsin for its return to Wrigley Field, the Tribune has learned.

The Cubs and Northwestern officials are expected to make it public during a Tuesday news conference at Wrigley Field. The Cubs play host to the Phillies that night.

Why is Wisconsin the right dance partner?

With Wrigley Field unavailable until November — it doubles as a ballpark, as you might have heard — only two 2020 dates were possible: Nov. 7 against Wisconsin and Nov. 28 versus Illinois. (Northwestern is off Nov. 14 and plays at Minnesota on Nov. 21.)

This will be the first football game to take place at Wrigley Field since 2010, when Northwestern squared off against the University of Illinois. The game attracted more than 41,000 fans, but a botched measurement yielded a short field, resulting in both offenses playing toward the west end zone. The Wrigley Field renovations should address that problem, as the move of the dugouts before the 2018 season should yield enough yardage for a regulation field aligned with the first-base line. (You can read more about the latest Wrigley Field renovations here.)

Football is also a key part of the history of Wrigley Field. The ballpark was a longtime home for the NFL’s Chicago Bears, who played there through 1970.

Image: NFL Championship game, December 29, 1963, as Bears hosted the New York Giants.

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