Northwestern University Athletics and the Chicago Cubs announced on Tuesday a multi-year event and reciprocal marketing partnership featuring Wildcats athletic programs at Wrigley Field, including baseball, lacrosse and five Wildcats football games.
The dates for the five Wildcats football games are pending due to the scheduling of the Wrigley Field restoration project. Details on game dates, opponents and ticket information will also be provided at a later date.
However, while sports like girls lacrosse will play at Wrigley soon, residents will have to wait roughly five years to watch the Wildcats play football. The Cubs say those games won't start until after the field's renovation project, and there is only slated to be one game per calendar year.
It’s all a part of a massive shake-up under way in Wrigleyville. Along with the $300 million renovation project of the ballpark, the Cubs are vying for more night games at Wrigley, as well as games later on Friday afternoons and Saturday nights.
That’s combined with a new boutique hotel planned by the Ricketts family across the street from Wrigley Field, as well as a retail and apartment redevelopment project planned off Clark and Addison streets.
"We are thrilled to partner with a professional sports franchise as iconic as the Chicago Cubs in an agreement that truly is the first of its kind," said Jim Phillips, Northwestern University Vice President For Athletics & Recreation.
"As Chicago's Big Ten Team, this is a natural fit that will create tremendous opportunities for our student-athletes, our coaches and our fans in the area," Phillips continued. "I'd like to personally thank the Ricketts family and the entire Cubs executive team for all of their efforts in bringing this remarkable partnership to fruition."
"We enjoyed working with the university in 2010 to host the first college football game at Wrigley Field since 1938..."
The agreement allows Northwestern to establish an ongoing marketing presence at the landmark, and the Cubs to leverage its brand and marks at Wildcats venues including Ryan Field and Welsh-Ryan Arena. Northwestern will have opportunities for concourse presence and fan giveaways at Wrigley Field, as well as professional development experiences for student-athletes in the Cubs front office.
"The Cubs are excited to establish an ongoing partnership with Northwestern that leverages our brands and facilities to help grow both fan bases for years to come," said Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney. "We enjoyed working with the university in 2010 to host the first college football game at Wrigley Field since 1938 and look forward to entertaining a variety of collegiate sporting events in the future."
As part of the partnership, the Friendly Confines will potentially serve as a home venue for many of Northwestern's 19 varsity programs over the coming years. Two sports programs have tentatively set dates to kick off the exciting partnership.
On April 20 this season, Northwestern baseball will host Big Ten opponent Michigan. Next spring (2014), the Wildcats women's lacrosse team—winner of seven of the last eight NCAA championships under head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller—plans to host regional rival Notre Dame.
Editor's Note: A press release contributed to this article.