Football: Northwestern, Illinois to play three games at Soldier Field

Kevin Casey, Sports Editor

Northwestern and Illinois will play three games at Soldier Field in 2015, 2017 and 2019, the Fighting Illini announced Monday.

The move continues a trend of the two schools moving contests to Chicago’s historic professional stadiums. Illinois hosted Washington at Soldier Field in 2013, and, per Monday’s announcement, has agreed to add on three more home games at the location with the series against the Wildcats.

“We’re thrilled to now be playing eight of 12 regular-season games in 2015, and six of nine Big Ten Conference games in 2017 & 2019, in the Chicagoland area,” NU athletic department spokesman Paul Kennedy told The Daily in an email. “Opportunities are rare to play a road game in a venue accessible from campus by public transportation. Particularly over a holiday weekend, this is incredible news for our student-athletes, coaches, families and fans going forward.”

NU has also dipped into the city’s pool of professional sports stadiums. In 2010, the Cats hosted Illinois at Wrigley Field. Three years later, NU and the Chicago Cubs entered into a multi-year partnership that would net the University several sporting events for a number of its varsity teams. The deal included five NU football games to be played at the stadium.

Since the beginning of the Wrigley agreement, the Cats have competed in multiple events at the historic stadium. In baseball, NU faced off against Michigan at Wrigley in 2013, and the Cats battled Southern California in lacrosse last April in the 101-year-old ballpark.

The 2015 contest between Illinois and NU was originally scheduled to be played at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Illinois.

This post was updated Monday at 3:07 p.m.

Twitter: @KevinCasey19