NEW: Northwestern plans to tear down Ryan Field and build a modern, smaller-capacity stadium on the site. The $800M project would be privately-funded and set up the venue to host concerts, among other non-football events.

  1. Will they be invoking a fresh curse for the new field or will the purple voodoo automatically apply to any playing surface in Evanston?

  2. I have a friend who knows some NU higher ups. $500 million will be paid by the Ryan family, and the capacity will be 35,000

  3. How did they do such a realistic render? Like the people look photo realistic. My school's render of the new football facility wasn't even half as clear and crisp as Northwestern's. Is it just photoshop or what?

  4. It really reminds me of what Baylor did to their stadium. Which has done them wonders, for their success.

  5. U of Iowa recently built a nice hockey arena. Why the hell are we not fielding a B1G hockey team? It’s like we are dragging our feet or something. It pisses me off.

  6. This reminds me of Baylor stadium, which in my personal opinion helps them have a full home crowd advantage.

  7. Orlando City Soccer’s Field where the Cure Bowl is held doesn’t have one bad seat. It’s smaller than this but it seats 25K and it made for a really enjoyable experience.

  8. Looks similar to Minnesota United's stadium, Allianz Field, which is a very nice stadium and gets decently loud for ~20k people

  9. Yeah 35k is really plenty large. It's on par with non US top 200 stadiums, bigger than multiple premier league stadiums. If they set this up well and it's really a multipurpose venue, that will be fantastic. And could honestly become a major player in terms of hosting events in Chicago if they want to go down that route.

  10. They really needed it too. Ryan Field is awful and they built that gorgeous new practice facility that puts their actual stadium to shame. Northwestern will have some of the nicest facilities in college football when this is complete.

  11. Yeah, even with say 35K, that place could still be rocking with stands relatively close to the field and a partial roof. It's worked really well for MLS.

  12. My GF’s club in Brazil has one and it’s a lifesaver. Rained the whole game when I went, but only on the pitch

  13. Yeah, I went to see Everton play Minnesota United this summer and was blown away by how nice that stadium is. Seems like a perfect blueprint for any smaller stadium built in the near future.

  14. As an IU fan living only 2 hours from chicago, this stadium will be an instant bucket list for me to watch some bad football

  15. i wonder if the city of evanston would actually allow them to host non-football events. they refused with welsh-ryan a few years ago but that was pre-pandemic

  16. The NIMBYs around the stadium will pitch a fucking fit if there's ever a concert there. And sadly, the city will probably listen to them.

  17. As a former Evanston resident, after seeing what NU has done to renovate their lakefront campus and basketball stadium over the past 10 or so years, I have no doubts that they could pull this off. All of their facilities are drop-dead gorgeous and state of the art. Would love to see a game in the new stadium some day.

  18. If we’re going to be an $800 million stadium team, we better start holding our coaching staff to $800-million-dollar-stadium standards.

  19. I have no idea what to make of Pat Fitzgerald. Once Ferentz retires he'll be the dean of Big Ten coaches despite being the third-youngest coach in the league (Fleck, Day), like he's way too young to be stuck in his ways or whatever. By the time he calls it quits he'll likely be the longest-tenured coach at any school besides the Eddie Robinsons and Joe Paternos, hell Woody Hayes coached at Ohio State for 28 seasons and Fitzgerald will get there at 59 or 60 years old (how old Harbaugh is now).

  20. This is pretty much what I want to have happen at Arizona. Drop capacity to around 45k, and add overhangs so we can have some damn day games. This looks awesome.

  21. Hopefully Evanston NIMBYs don’t ruin this project. It wouldn’t be the first time. Heck, the team has to use mobile lights for every game because Evanston residents complained were whining about having permanent lights on the stadium.

  22. How big are the Northwestern crowds? Seem relatively low key on TV. Plus isn’t Soldier Field used by the Chicago Fire too? Could make scheduling annoying.

  23. Sources: Ruiz is beside himself. Driving around downtown Evanston begging (thru texts) Northwestern's Athletic Department for advice on building a new stadium.

  24. That looks great! I always wonder why more universities don't do this. Most historical stadiums just plain suck. For this one they should do a roof.

  25. That’s why we save our overhead stadium shots for when Michigan comes into town. Dark blue passes for purple from 100 feet in the sky

  26. Isn't the stadium already at like 45k seats? Much smaller than that and you're competing with the smallest P5 stadiums out there (Wake, Wazzou, soon-to-be Cincy, Duke, and Houston). That rendering looks like closer to 50-55k seats tbh

  27. 35k, and I think this is going to become a bigger and bigger trend, similar to what Major League Baseball and college basketball have gone through. Better seats for everyone in a more intimate venue and better chance of being sold out.

  28. Ryan Field is closer to Aloha Stadium than it is to Wrigley Field. (i.e Ryan Field isn’t old in a charming Wrigley kind of way. It’s old in the this-stadium-is-a-decade-away-from-being-dangerous kind of way).

  29. Any interest in building a stadium that looks a bit more classic or traditional? Something that evokes the university? This looks like mini sofi stadium, feels corporate. If I saw these renderings without Northwestern logos I would think it's a bland NFL stadium

  30. Yeah that is my worry since when they rebuilt Welsh-Ryan Arena, it became a lot more corporate and bland. But the renderings on this look pretty good

  31. I guess this is an unpopular opinion based on the other comments of this thread, but I am decidedly not a fan of the look of the new stadium. It just doesn’t look like a college football stadium at all

  32. I’m not opposed to trying out new looks for CFB venues and the interior does look really cool - but the edifice is a bit blah for such an institution defining structure.

  33. I’m not a northwestern fan. Just a lifelong Chicagoan whose ended up at a half dozen games there over the years. So take my opinions with a grain of salt….but I kinda hate this. You can’t beat the old school feel of getting off the L in a 120 year old station, walking past dozens of historic houses and then a towering stadium with a classic 1920s aesthetic appears out of nowhere. There’s no other college football experience like that. Once you’re inside, it feels like a glorified high school stadium though, so I get why they’re updating it. But this seems like it’s destroying the few things that made Ryan Field cool in the name of making it functional. You’d think the sheer brainpower northwestern has at their disposal could’ve come up with better. Personal gripes aside, it is a really sick design.

  34. I guess they could go the complete renovation route but there is just so much wrong with current Ryan Field. The scoreboard is in a terrible location, the locker rooms are a pain to get to especially for visiting teams, the upper deck has no space and pretty much a 1 person bathroom in the middle (most fans don't know about the big ones further up the tower). I have a ton of nostalgic memories there and will be going to my 50th game there in a couple weeks but it's beyond saving.

  35. Damn. Im not of fan "modern" college football stadiums. NFL heck yes! But in college there's a certain feel that just isn't captured by those style of stadiums.

  36. The neighbors are going to despise this. Keep tabs on the local newspapers in the next few years for some top tier comedy.

  37. Evanston NIMBYs complain about everything. They’ll complain because a new stadium is being built and they’d complain if a stadium is being torn down. Best to disregard them because they’re insufferable and plainly stupid. Might seem harsh but there is no other way to describe people who move to a college town and complain about everything that is to be expected when you live in a college town.

  38. Evanston is a very wealthy suburb of Chicago. Even if the locals like it, they will still complain about it.

  39. Building a stadium with turf when more and more people are coming out against it doesn’t seem like the most cost effective thing to me.

  40. I really like this. Following the model of some of the newer MLS stadiums by going smaller in capacity but with all the seats very close in proximity to the field. Probably the best possible situation for a small private school like Northwestern.

  41. I think this is a great idea! More programs need to look for more intimate modern facilities designed to serve purposes outside of football. I am very much including my own program in this. There's a lot of programs playing in ancient, oversized venues from a previous era. When a smaller modern stadium will create a better atmosphere and serve more use to the university. It'll suck to play 2 years at Soldier Field to make this work but the outcome seems worth it.

  42. Sounds a bit like what they did with Snapdragon Stadium. It looks so high end and picturesque, you wouldn't think it was only a 30,000 seater.

  43. Does $800 million include the cost of demolishing and removing the old stadium? That’s pretty expensive if it’s just the cost to build the new one. This stadium does look pretty nice though.

  44. I did some temporary work in Chicago years ago and I was real lucky to catch a Cubs, White Sox, Bears preseason, AND a NW game vs Penn State. It was weird. I could not believe how close I sat to Joe Paterno. And I was able to watch sideline coaching going on during the game. Paterno was an interesting man.

  45. I guess they’ll play at Soldier during the construction? As a Chicago native I’ll miss the ol girl but Ryan Stadium needs an overhaul.

  46. I like how even in their wettest wet dream the student section in the endzone is still rather sparsely filled.

  47. I don't think any of us would be upset if Northwestern just took a break from playing football until the new stadium is built

  48. Nooooooo! Ryan Field ia the best non-Ohio Stadium in the B10. An amazing ol' skool stadium w no amenities. Nothing spoiled here, just play football.

  49. The all purple crowd in the rendering is hilarious. If you want it to be accurate, at least half of the stadium has to be away fans. Since it's smaller capacity, maybe three quarters away fans?

  50. Makes me wonder how many staff they’ll layoff after this athletics facility opens. More or less than when the $250 million Ryan Field House opened.

  51. Based on an article I found, the largest high school stadium has a capacity of 22,400. Ryan Field currently has a capacity of 47,000. Ryan Field is also almost never sold out. Northwestern's average attendance for 2+ decades has almost always been 28,000-38,000. A new capacity of 35,000 is going to sell out more often and probably bring generally higher revenue even when not sold out than a 47,000 seat stadium. Even during a bad 28,000 average attendance season, that's going to be 80% capacity (vs 59%). That's going to have a positive effect on the game day experience. It looks like every seat will have a killer view, and it's designed in a way to keep the noise in so it'll hopefully be quite loud internally. Seems like a big win to me. If you're not a massive public school, you don't need a 75,000 seat stadium that is going to sit 1-2 to 2/3 empty.

  52. To me, it makes more sense for them to play at solider field and try to solidify themselves as Chicago’s team.

  53. it'd be horrible, it's like an hour from campus, even longer on the train. they'd have the UCLA/rose bowl issue. opposing fans would still show up but the already small student body would not come

  54. ND fan (but also a Chicagoan) so take what I say with a grain of salt. But considering Loyola basketball hasn’t caught on as a “Chicago thing” despite sustained success, I don’t think northwestern football could ever do the same. Too many transplants with existing college allegiances for it to happen.

  55. You think they’re really utilizing the current 47k capacity? It’s not uncommon nowadays to decrease capacity and increase amenities.

  56. This looks so nice! Seeing this after seeing the renovations that Purdue announced for Ross-Ade makes me embarrassed for Purdue and jealous of Northwestern. Granted, this is a brand new stadium, but the Ross-Ade renovations seem like the bare minimum of what they could have done.

  57. It's weird that it feels larger for some reason. Upper decks always make a small stadium feel larger that a big bowl with more seats.

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