Northwestern University and the Chicago Cubs today announced a five-year marketing partnership that will see five Wildcat football games played at Wrigley Field.

The dela will also see a variety of other NU sporting events held at Wrigley — including a Big Ten baseball game against Michigan next April and a women’s lacrosse game in 2014.

“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’s vice president for athletics and recreation, in a statement.

“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,” Phillips added.

The agreement allows Northwestern to establish an ongoing marketing presence in Wrigley, and lets the Cubs 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,” he added.

The dates for the five Wildcats football games are pending due to the scheduling of the Wrigley Field restoration project.

The move of an average of one football game a year to Wrigley will mean a reduction in ticket tax revenue for the City of Evanston, although that could be recouped if the marketing deal leads to higher attendance at the rest of NU’s games held in Evanston at Ryan Field.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. ‘I feel jilted’

    As noted above, the City of Evanston will lose some tax revenue from the NU game ticket sales.  However, Evanston will also lose sales tax revenue.  The loss of a game each year, that typically brings together more than 33,000 folks will certainly impact business revenue at local hotels, eateries, liquor stores, sports vendors, car rental agencies and local schools, who park cars to raise funds for their PTA programs. 

    I personally love NU game days and the excitement of living near campus; in fact, I love most of the things that NU brings to enhance Evanston.  However, the decision to head to the "Big City" each fall is upsetting; I feel jilted.   Now I will mourn the trees that the City let NU cut down at Clark Street Beach, as well as one less Saturday football game. 

    1. Marketing

      Let's hope that the additional marketing increases the attendance at all games, including the ones held in Evanston.  If giving up one game a season leads to sold out games for the rest of them, it'll turn out to be a win-win for both Evanston and NU.

    2. Save Wrigleyville! Stop Big 10 football!

      "As noted above, the City of Evanston will lose some tax revenue from the NU game ticket sales.  However, Evanston will also lose sales tax revenue."

      True, but if we look at this from a NIMBY perspective, this is great news.  It means an additional two weekends where the residents of Central Street will have peace and quiet, and plentiful on-street parking.  NIMBYs love parking!  

      No out-of-towners running wild in wards 1 , 6, and 7!   Some of these football fans have even been known to drink alcohol!  

      No traffic jams on Central or Green Bay!

      I just wonder how the folks in Chicago  are taking the news.  I am sure that there are plenty of old people who have been living at Clark & Addison for six generations, and they are probably very angry about the peace and quiet of Wrigleyville being shattered by these football games.   



      1. Business as usual for Wrigleyville

        Old or young, residents of Wrigleyville deal with millions of drunks and noise year-round between the Cubs, concerts, and bars. I doubt the NU game is going to upset the locals. Not to mention, I've been to small D-3 schools whose fans get twice as loud as NU's.

  2. Win or Lose

    This certainly sounds like a win-win for the Cubs and Chicago and a lose-lose for Northwestern and Evanston. The math is simple, more events in Chicago and less in Evanston.

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