University of Michigan Likely to Play Football Rival on Tiny Soccer Pitch
Most people who have gone to a major college football game would say there's nothing quite like the environment in a venue like Spartan Stadium in Ann Arbor or the Big House in Ann Arbor.
Expect that atmosphere to be very different for Big 10 rival Northwest for the next couple of seasons. Their home stadium, the venerable Ryan Field, is being torn down and rebuilt during the 2024 and 2025 seasons. The Wildcats will be homeless and they've not yet nailed down their temporary accommodations but there are some likely candidates including tiny soccer fields.
Michigan State is not slated to play Northwestern during those seasons but Michigan has a home-and-home including a game at Northwestern in 2025.
There are four possible homes for the Chicago-area university to play during their displaced seasons as scouted by student publication North by Northwestern.
Two are well-known venues, Solider Field, home of the Bears, and the Friendly Confines of baseball's Wrigley Field. The other two options are the school's soccer/lacrosse facility, Martin Feild. It's on campus but would require temporary bleachers. The final option, and the one that appears the most likely is a professional soccer pitch, Seat Geek Stadium in Chicago's southwest suburbs.
Imagine Michigan playing Northwest in the intimate enclosure of a soccer stadium - it would make for a radically different experience.
The decision to move Northwestern Football to Seat Geek Stadium is far from final as each of the four options has pros and cons. Martin Field is on campus but it would need work to accommodate the larger football crowds.
Wrigley Field is close to Northwestern's Evanston campus so seen as an easy commute for the school's fanbase. But the Cubs would have late-season home games on Saturdays. While Wrigley has hosted football in the recent past, it's tight quarters.
Solider Field is made for football but has cavernous capacity compared to what Northwestern typically draws.
Seat Geek Stadium has a relationship with the school having hosted the soccer team during the 2015 season. However, its southside location is seen as a drawback as being too far from Northwestern's northside home base - which is a sad commentary on the school's fans who sound unlikely to travel across Chicagoland away from Evanston, the Gold Coast and tony lakeside suburbs like Kenilworth, the wealthiest community in the midwest.
Wherever Northwest ends up, circle that Michigan date in 2025 when it gets scheduled you'll likely be in for a unique college football atmosphere.