Late last month, it was reported that college football would be returning to an iconic ballpark. Tuesday, those reports became officially official as Northwestern has confirmed that it will play Wisconsin at Wrigley Field during the 2020 season.
The Big Ten foes will square off Nov. 7 of that year, with the Wildcats serving as the home team in the historic stadium.
“We are thrilled to return to one of the truly iconic venues in all of sports,” said Northwestern athletic director Jim Phillips in a 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.”
“This type of experience, just nine miles south of campus, is only available at a place like Northwestern,” NU head football coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “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 2013, it was announced that Wrigley Field would play host to five future Wildcats football games, with the dates not specified at the time.
Northwestern and Illinois played the last game at Wrigley in 2010, but that contest was subject to some significant derision as, because of the baseball park’s configuration, just one of the two end zones were utilized. That will not be an issue moving forward because of the ongoing restoration of the stadium.
That 2010 matchup marked the first college football game at Wrigley Field since 1938, when DePaul University played home games at the ballpark. It also marked the first time Northwestern had played Illinois at the home of the Chicago Cubs (then called Cubs Park) since Oct. 27, 1923.
In addition to the 2018 game in the Friendly Confines, at least four future NU football games will be played at Wrigley. The dates for those matchups have yet to be announced.