Northwestern has reached an agreement with the Chicago Cubs to host sporting events at Wrigley Field, including five football games, according to the university's official site.
The new deal is tentatively scheduled to begin with a baseball game between the Wildcats and Michigan Wolverines on April 20. The women's lacrosse team is also planning a game at the historic baseball stadium for next spring.
More information about the five football games will be released in the future once plans are finalized. Taking the field at Wrigley, which is known for its ivy outfield fences and which will soon celebrate its 100-year anniversary, will be a unique opportunity for Northwestern.
Northwestern's vice president for athletics and recreation, Jim Phillips, released the following statement as part of the announcement.
"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. 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."
Northwestern is located in Evanston, a suburb of Chicago, so the partnership makes logical sense. After recent bowl games at Yankee Stadium in New York, its clear playing games in a baseball stadium will provide for a different atmosphere than a typical Saturday at Ryan Field.
The agreement stretches across the university's various sports, but the focus will obviously be on the football games. That's especially true since the Wildcats have been trending in a positive direction in recent seasons.
Cubs fans don't get to witness a lot of winning teams inside the "Friendly Confines," so Northwestern might actually bring a nice change of pace to Wrigley. If nothing else, it should bring more attention to the program.
It's unclear exactly how long the agreement will run. The announcement would only characterize it as a "multi-year event."