‘Cats To Play Five Games At Wrigley In Coming Years
Wow. I don’t know about you, but the ‘Cats-Cubs partnership that was just officially announced was more robust than I anticipated. NU VP of Athletics & Recreation, Jim Phillips, announced a reciprocal partnership with Crane Kenney and the Chicago Cubs that will go through 2017 and include five NU football games at Wrigley Field. The partnership includes both brands getting to market their respective brands at one another’s facilities. Yes, the Cubs will have an integrated presence at Ryan Field and likely more importantly, Northwestern will have the right to market Northwestern football throughout Wrigley Field, including ‘Cats marketing throughout the concourses of Cubs games including giveaways. The Cubs will have access to Ryan Field and Welsh-Ryan Arena.
As was earlier reported, NU will have several non-revenue sporting events at the Friendly Confines kicking off with baseball on April 20 against Michigan. As we also discussed this weekend, the variables in future B1G schedules based on Rutgers, Maryland and potential expansion to a nine or ten game schedule will likely dictate the potential opponents and dates.
Jim Phillips was pretty candid in his time at the podium, earnestly addressing the challenges of filling Ryan Field with nearly 47,130 mostly purple (the stated goal of this blog). Jim acknowledged that relying on the 11th ranked (in terms of size) alumni base in Chicago and current students (only 8,000) isn’t a big enough pool for NU to be successful in filling seats. The impetus for this move is to try and really bring the product to potential fans, avid college football fans of other schools, or casual football fans, and convince them to give NU a shot. Personally, the marketing opportunity is one that is of intrigue and it will be interesting to see what kind of metrics are put in place to directly correlate to capturing new fans.