Partnership with Cubs ensures more NU football at Wrigley
Feb 02, 2013 (Chicago Tribune - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
After years of flirting, the Chicago Cubs and Northwestern will take their relationship to the next level Tuesday by announcing a broad partnership in a news conference at Wrigley Field.
A university source told the Tribune that while Wrigley will not host football in 2013, other NU teams might play there this year, such as baseball, softball, soccer and lacrosse.
And it's just a matter of time before NU football returns to Wrigley Field, given that the 2010 Northwestern-Illinois game was profitable for the Cubs and gave the Wildcats a huge marketing boost.
NU athletic director Jim Phillips told the Tribune after the 2010 game that there was "absolutely potential to do another. This was a wonderful event, it captured a national audience and from the responses I've received, there truly was a bowl-like atmosphere."
But the date (and opponent) of the next football game will depend on the pace of renovations, given that in 2010, both teams' offenses played toward the same end zone.
The NU source said that partnering with a famous brand and historic venue will help the school advance its theme as "Chicago's Big Ten team."
And both sides believe the extensive partnership between a major sports franchise and school will be the first of its kind.
Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts is tight with Phillips and is a major supporter of NU sports.
In an October interview with the Tribune, Ricketts forecasted more football games at Wrigley, called the 2010 Illinois-NU game "one of the greatest days in Wrigley Field history" and said: "When I saw the Northwestern band on the field at halftime, I almost cried."
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