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B1G 2023: Northwestern week: Say hello to the new Ryan Field!

A longtime Northwestern season ticket holder is thrilled we’re getting a new stadium! Let’s dive in

Interior shot of the new Ryan Field
Interior shot of the new Ryan Field

I’ve been a Northwestern fan since 2000 and a season ticket holder since. Every season I trudge up to Evanston to sit near the 20 yard line at lovely Ryan Field, which was built back in 1926 and originally known as Dyche Stadium.

Dyche Stadium was renovated after the 1996 season (and renamed Ryan Field after Pat Ryan, founder of AON Insurance, former Northwestern football player, billionaire, part owner of the Chicago Bears, and member of Northwestern’s board of trustees).

In 2014, a new jumbotron was installed along with updated signage and striping across the entire stadium.

2014 era Jumbotron

Ryan Field is definitely showing its age. The concourses are too small, the bathrooms inadequate, the food is “blah”, and it’s time for a change.

Let’s definitely not talk about the putrid play on the field the last two seasons...

The Northwestern Athletic department has been on a building spree the past decade, having renovated the basketball, baseball, and lacrosse stadiums, and built a lakefront athletics palace for the football team and the rest of the athletic department. The final leg of these renovations was rebuilding the football stadium!

These images are from and screenshots taken from the video on the site.

Here’s the new stadium overlaid against the old one

Let’s break things down according to

This stadium will be privately funded

I’d expect no less. What I’m not sure about yet is if my family will have to buy a “personal seat license” for our block of season tickets

Northwestern wishes to sell alcohol in the general admission areas!

If we can believe what we read in a local Evanston news website, this is great news!

I mean, Northwestern football season the past few seasons has driven people to drink.

New Ryan field will be smaller by 12,000 seats.

Empty seats don’t look good on TV. No more tarps! I guess this is for the best. I mean, Northwestern really does not sell out unless Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan, Nebraska, or other schools with massive followings come to town.

New Ryan field will be positioned at an angle

The stadium will be enclosed in a canopy to reduce noise and light escaping to nearby homes in Evanston and Wilmette

This is the view from the northwest part of the stadium

You all know what this means: this place is gonna get LOUD. Let’s think of stadiums in the pacific northwest, specifically Husky Stadium and the place where the Seattle Seahawks play. They’ve got canopies, and they’re quite loud.

Now, the sad thing is there’s only so many Northwestern fans, so I have a deep fear that when Nebraska fans invade our new stadium, they’re going to be so damn loud we’ll have to use a silent count at home... Again....

And hint hint to the nearby Evanston and Wilmette residents: you’re still going to hear a lot of noise. I get it, you’re not happy that there’s seven to eight saturdays you have lots of people streaming through your neighborhood, and some of you have property taxes that are as much as your mortgage payments, but this stadium and university was here first. You chose to buy near the stadium. Just deal with it and enjoy it.


The skyboxes and nearby dining areas will be luxurious with butlers serving the high rollers nothing but the finest food and drink

look at that butler!

The university is going to ensure it’s used year round

A north shore ice skating rink!
Farmer’s markets!

Final thoughts:

So, are we gonna play at Soldier Field when this thing is under construction? That sounds like fun. Or is Northwestern going to expedite the construction and get it done in an offseason like how Stanford shrunk Stanford Stadium back in 2005 or 2006?

How small and uncomfortable will the visiting team locker room be? Just because the rest of the stadium is amazing means we don’t have to give the visiting team a special experience.

How much are tickets gonna cost?

I’m excited for a new stadium.