Would this really be the "Friendly Confines for jNW if Iowa played them here?"
Hawkaloogie put up an interesting FanShot a couple of days ago from Scott Dochertman who provided Iowa football fans an article that has stirred their hopes and dreams: a football game being played at Wrigley Field. I'm not shocked that jNW would want to do something like this, and there has been some interesting discussion of the idea. Who would have television coverage? How many people would fit into the stadium? Would the teams fit into the locker rooms? What is the payout like? How much would tickets go for? Etc., etc. After the Jump, here are some interesting insights as to the feasibility of this "arrangement."
Why Iowa fans would want this plan to fall into place:
- Iowa fans own the city of Chicago - It's no secret that there are thousands of Iowa fans living in the Chicago metro-area. This is evidenced by the countless number of Iowa flags you see flying in apartments, the number of people wearing Iowa gear while they run errands, and the number of Iowa bars in the city (and surrounding areas). There are two Iowa bars within 100 feet of each other on Clark Street in the heart of Wrigleyville.
- Iowa fans enjoy traveling - Not only would the fans who live in Chicago attempt to get tickets for this game, the Iowa fans from Iowa would likely make the trip to Chicago to see a game in "The Friendly Confines." We all know that the jNW fans wouldn't get a boner over a game in Chicago, but Iowa fans will.
- Television exposure - I'm pretty sure that ESPN would get the rights to this game, and probably air it at 3:30 EST on November 13. Not only would it be ESPN's game, but it would likely be broadcast on ABC, much like when the Blackhawks played the Red Wings at Wrigley in 2009. That game earned a 2.5 rating and was the 5 share on New Year's day (4.4 million viewers), while it was coinciding with the Rose Bowl and Capital One Bowl. While it's not likely, Game Day may also make an appearance for the event (given the setting). Also, who wouldn't want to watch a football game being played at Wrigley? It's not like the Emerald Bowl being played at AT&T Park in San Francisco, this place has history.
- It's happening at Wrigley Field - No matter what baseball team you root for, the first time you see a game at Wrigley is an amazing experience. It's like traveling to Fenway Park to watch a Red Sox game (the only people who hate the stadium are the arch-rivals). Plus, surrounding Wrigley are tons of bars, prime for Iowa fans to drink at prior to and after the game.
- Beer Vendors - I would imagine that alcohol would be served at this game (gotta get extra revenue wherever they can). That always gets the of age college students aroused, as they don't have to smuggle booze in. For the older crowd, it's not that big of a deal, as most people I see going to games don't tend to continue a marathon rate of drinking once inside the stadium at professional games (there are some, don't get me wrong).
Why Iowa fans don't want the game played at Wrigley Field:
- Capacity - Wrigley Field only holds 41,118 after the most recent renovation in 2006. Yes, the seating capacity would likely be expanded a bit for this game, but it wouldn't be by much. When the hockey game was played there, extra bleachers were brought in on the field; however, that wouldn't be feasible for the football game. Ryan Field by comparison holds 47,130, so only 6,012 more people would be able to pack in there on game day, but let's consider what that place looks like on game day:
- Tailgating - An Iowa fan's favorite past time on football game day. If you've ever been to a game at Wrigley, you know how big of a headache parking is. That is because the stadium is smack dab in the middle of a neighborhood. Go to a Cubs game in the summer and you'll see cars crammed onto the streets for parking, in alleys, and in people's yards. There is one small parking lot on the northwest side of the stadium, but that is usually filled with broadcasting trucks, and those who have box seats for the game. Everyone would have to go to the bars and/or apartment parties prior to this game.
- Vantage Point - I wasn't alive when the Bears played games at Wrigley, so I have no idea what the actual sight lines are like. I can only imagine that it would really suck to be seated in the lower deck behind what would be home plate at a baseball game. The bleachers would be alright, and so would the upper decks; however, I wouldn't want a seat anywhere between the dugouts.
- Ticket Prices - For the game to be held here, there will obviously have to be a large amount of money paid to someone (jNW? The Ricketts' Family? ESPN? An Alderman or two?), so expect to pay a stiff price to see the game here. If you were able to afford a trip to Miami, I don't think this will be too big of a stretch for you; however, if you are a season ticket holder at Iowa who doesn't make the "donation" required to gain the "privilege" of purchasing a seat outside of the end zones, it could be a steep price to pay.
- Replays -There's no jumbo-tron at Wrigley (not that I mind), but any questionable plays will have to be replayed within the glory of your own head. Not much further explanation is required for this one.
- MOST IMPORTANTLY: jNW hasn't lost to Iowa when they have played them away from Ryan since 2002 - The last time Iowa beat Northwestern was in 2007, and that game was at Ryan Field, Northwestern has beaten Iowa outside of Ryan Field in 2009, 2008, and 2006. Iowa has won at Ryan Field the last two times they've played there, in fact, the last victory Iowa had over jNW when the game wasn't at Ryan Field was in 2002. Granted, this is not an "away" game for Iowa, but it's not happening at Ryan Field. The good "ju-ju" may not be following us to Chicago, unless the game is in Evanston.
Yeah, I think we could help their attendance numbers a bit.
Mighty tough to see if McNutt had a foot down in bounds on that Touchdown reception.
Well, there you have it. Just a few thoughts about why we would and wouldn't want this game at Wrigley. Personally, I wouldn't care one way or another, there's an L stop at or near each location, and I'll be at the game regardless.