A college football game is officially in Wrigley Field‘s future, as Northwestern will host the University of Wisconsin at the ballpark in 2020.
Over the last several years, the Chicago Cubs have been working on an extensive renovation that is modernizing Wrigley Field. (You can read more about the latest Wrigley Field renovations here.) The project has been expected to help the ballpark host more non-baseball events, with college football anticipated as being a part of that mix.
As was announced on Tuesday, Northwestern will host a game at the ballpark in 2020. The November 7 matchup will pit the Wildcats against the Wisconsin Badgers.
“We are thrilled to return to one of the truly iconic venues in all of sports,” Northwestern vice president for athletics & recreation Jim Phillips said in a press statement. “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.”
The 2020 contest will be the first college football game at Wrigley Field since 2010, when Northwestern hosted the University of Illinois. Over 41,000 fans attended that contest, which resulted in Illinois defeating Northwestern 48-27.
“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,” Cubs president, business operations Crane Kenney said in a press statement. “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,” Dan & Susan Jones Family Head Football Coach Pat Fitzgerald said in a press statement. “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.”
College football games at MLB ballparks have become a common trend in recent years, with Yankee Stadium and Chase Field among the facilities currently hosting annual bowl games. The Boston Red Sox have also been working football into Fenway Park‘s fall calendar, and will do so again in November with a contest between Harvard and Yale. This fall will also see the Atlanta Braves and SunTrust Park welcome a matchup between Kennesaw State and the visiting Jacksonville State.
The announcement of the 2020 game adds Wrigley Field to that trend. Wrigley Field has an extensive history in football, as it was home to the Chicago Bears from 1921-1970.