clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2022 will be Northwestern’s “final season at Ryan Field” — here’s where they could go in 2023.

New, comments

2022 will be the last season at Ryan Field, per a text from the Northwestern Ticket Office.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 12 Illinois at Northwestern Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Per a text sent to Northwestern Wildcats season ticketholders today...

...2022 looks to be the “final season at Ryan Field.”

I did not bother reaching out to the Northwestern Athletics Department for comment because I am not a journalist and don’t care, so we’ll just rely on this Evanston Now post from December:

As part of a plan to rebuild Ryan Field, athletics department officials at Northwestern University say they are thinking of creating “a more intimate setting,” which would be “smaller and lower” than the current 47,130 capacity stadium.

A lot is wrapped up in “more intimate,” including being ADA-compliant and improving restroom and amenity access, but that means that in 2023 and, perhaps, 2024...

Construction, whenever it begins, should take two years, and the Wildcats would have to play home games at some other yet-to-be-determined site while work is underway.

Delightful. RIP to Ryan Field Dyche Stadium.

Here are all the places Northwestern should consider playing its home games in 2023 and, perhaps, 2024, ranked:

1. Soldier Field (Chicago Bears)

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

Majestic. Mostly as accessible as Ryan Field. Hardly any more empty than Ryan Field. Actually allows Northwestern to play games in the city they claim to be from. Couldn’t hurt with recruits.

2. Comiskey Park US Cellular Field Guaranteed Rate Field (Chicago White Sox)

NCAA FOOTBALL: NOV 09 Toledo v Northern Illinois Photo by Patrick Gorski/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Pros:

  • In Chicago
  • Accessible by public transit
  • Fitz is a White Sox fan no matter how many times he throws out the first pitch for the Cubs
  • Fireworks would be cool when the ‘Cats score a touchdown
  • Can actually fit a football field

Cons:

  • Northwestern fans largely too scared to ride the Red Line past Roosevelt
  • NIU-Toledo probably put more fans in the stands than NU could
  • Risks legitimating the White Sox in any capacity

3. Arlington Heights Stadium (proposed)

Arlington Cardinal

Pros:

  • On a Metra line, so accessible enough.
  • Would further thriving Chicago Bears partnership
  • Would finally capture the elusive “suburban Northwestern fan”

Cons:

  • Stadium is hypothetical
  • So is the “suburban Northwestern fan”

4. SeatGeek Stadium (formerly Chicago Fire, currently Chicago Red Stars) — Bridgeview, IL

Wikipedia

Pros:

  • Has hosted football games, including Chicago Bliss of Lingerie Football League
  • Currently could use more tenants
  • Adequate tailgating space
  • 20,000-person capacity feels about right for Northwestern football
  • See above comments about “elusive suburban Northwestern fan”

Cons:

  • Northwestern football substantially less sexy than LFL
  • Not on actual public transit
  • Are THESE the tenants you want?
  • See above comments about “elusive suburban Northwestern fan”

5. Memorial Stadium (Illinois Fighting Illini) — Champaign, IL

Pros:

  • Has hosted teams from Chicago before
  • Northwestern 3-1 in last four games at Memorial Stadium
  • Picture it: A Northwestern-Illinois State game, followed by an Illinois-Eastern Illinois tilt! One ticket—TWO GAMES!

Cons:

  • One-game losing streak at Memorial Stadium
  • Are the 2002 Chicago Bears really who you want to emulate?

6. Yes, you’re very funny—Evanston Township High School (Evanston, IL) OR Amos Alonzo Stagg Field (Chicago Maroons)

ETHS, or UC? Only I know, and I’ll never tell...
Wikipedia

7. Old Chicago Stadium (formerly Chicago Bears, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Bulls, Chicago Stags, Chicago Majors, Chicago Sting)

Pros:

In the throes of the Great Depression, to ensure paying customers showed up in subfreezing temperatures on Dec. 18, the game was played at Chicago Stadium — yes, indoors — atop 8 inches of dirt spread over concrete.

[...]

McCarthy explained how the Stadium kept its own supply of dirt and repeatedly reused it as a cost-saving measure. Over time, the soil collected an aggregation of sticks, cigar butts, an occasional elephant tusk tip and whatever the circus animals dropped out of their hind ends.

[...]

Instead of a regulation-sized field of 120 yards long and 50 yards wide, the Stadium accommodated only 80 by 45. And that included the two 10-yard end zones.

Cons:

  • Stadium no longer exists
  • Not conducive to punting

Last: Wrigley Field (Chicago Cubs)

It was a bad idea the first time, and it’d be a bad idea again:

Compare the above picture to 2010 (below) to see just how much space they’ve created:

Illinois v Northwestern Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Really stellar work by everyone.

Poll

Where should Northwestern play its home games in 2023?

This poll is closed

  • 35%
    Soldier Field
    (243 votes)
  • 21%
    SeatGeek Stadium (that’s the soccer one)
    (143 votes)
  • 4%
    Comiskey Park (that’s the baseball one)
    (29 votes)
  • 18%
    ETHS/Stagg Field HEY DID YOU KNOW THEY SHOULD PLAY AT A HIGH SCHOOL FIELD, I AM FUNNY
    (124 votes)
  • 5%
    Memorial Stadium (that’s the other half-full one home to a non-bowl-eligible FBS team in Illinois)
    (36 votes)
  • 15%
    Wrigley Field
    (102 votes)
677 votes total Vote Now

Poll

K. Got it out of your system? Now tell us where they actually play in 2023:

This poll is closed

  • 53%
    Soldier Field
    (270 votes)
  • 13%
    Wrigley Field
    (69 votes)
  • 3%
    Guaranteed Rate Field
    (20 votes)
  • 23%
    SeatGeek Stadium
    (117 votes)
  • 2%
    A combination of those that I will elaborate on in the comments
    (11 votes)
  • 3%
    None of the above—I’ll tell you in the comments
    (17 votes)
504 votes total Vote Now