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SBD/February 6, 2013/Colleges
Cubs, Northwestern Univ. Reach "Landmark" Agreement To Bring NU Athletics To Wrigley
Published February 6, 2013
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EXAMINING THE SCHEDULE: In Chicago, Teddy Greenstein notes the first football game will be played "in 2014 and then, depending on the Wrigley Field renovation schedule, they might be spread out over six to eight years." The games likely are to be "played in November to avoid a potential playoff conflict in October," but NU AD Jim Phillips would "not rule out a September date." Getting approval from the Big Ten "will be a formality." There will be no games in '13 because Phillips "wanted to give NU season-ticket holders more of a heads up." The first game will be NU baseball playing "host to Michigan on April 20," while the women's lacrosse team will play a game in '14 against Notre Dame. Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney said that the club had a group of students from NU's Kellogg School of Management "investigate and present a business project for them." Cubs employees will be able to "tap into executive education programs, and the team has NU football and baseball players working as interns" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/6). Phillips said, "The Chicagoland area is a crowded marketplace. We have to do innovative things. We have to do creative things. We have to get Chicago sports fans to adopt Northwestern” (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 2/6).
CREATING A BUZZ: The Chicago Tribune’s David Haugh called the partnership a "great idea," as it "makes sense from a sports business standpoint." Haugh: "It creates a little more buzz around a Northwestern game that might not always have it. I think it’s a bit of a calculated risk because it is based on the assumption the renovation is going to come off successfully.” WGN-AM's Jordan Bernfield said of the Cubs, "They want to use different opportunities to bring in other sports, which they’re going to do in this scenario. From Northwestern’s perspective, it brings buzz to games that they’re playing that may not get as big a buzz otherwise.” Haugh said Northwestern playing a football game at the ballpark on an annual basis will not detract from the "uniqueness" of the game because “every season has its own buzz” ("Chicago Tribune Live," Comcast SportsNet Chicago, 2/5).