If NYC can host a bowl game, so can Chicago WRIGLEY FIELD

Red Eye Chicago - - Sports - Paul M. Banks

On Mon­day, the lat­est bowl sea­son will come to an end when Clem­son or Alabama wins the na­tional cham­pi­onship.

Much like the Su­per Bowl, don’t expect col­lege foot­ball’s sig­na­ture event to be played in Chicago any­time soon. How­ever, the idea of bring­ing a post­sea­son game to the Windy City is gain­ing mo­men­tum. The Cubs want to be first in line for host­ing du­ties. On Thurs­day, the Tribune re­ported that the team is in­ter­ested in draw­ing a bowl game to Wrigley Field.

The main blue­prints for this move­ment can be found in New York City’s Pin­stripe Bowl, which is played at Yan­kee Sta­dium; North­west­ern won the 2016 edi­tion. The Mu­sic City Bowl, held in Nashville, also is sim­i­lar to what a Chicago bowl game might be in terms of weather and easy ac­cess to cul­tural at­trac­tions.

“I think bowls should also be an ed­u­ca­tional ex­pe­ri­ence for the kids, and New York is sec­ond to none,” said Pin­stripe Bowl ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Mark Holtz­man, who also serves as Yan­kees’ ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of non­base­ball rev­enue. “I think the other ma­jor mar­kets, like Chicago, Bos­ton, the ed­u­ca­tional ex­pe­ri­ence for kids who have never been there be­fore, they take some­thing away from these games that’s an eye-opener.”

Skep­tics will point to cold weather as an ob­sta­cle, but Holtz­man had the per­fect re­sponse.

“I think we got a lit­tle bit of a stigma with ‘cold weather cli­mate’ when in re­al­ity,” he said, “... when you look at the tem­per­a­tures of some of the other bowl games—Nashville, Birm­ing­ham, Char­lotte—there’s not that much of a tem­per­a­ture dif­fer­ence.”

The 2016 Pin­stripe Bowl tem­per­a­ture at kick­off was 39 de­grees, while the Mu­sic City Bowl of­ten sees temps in the 30s.

If Chicago is go­ing to be brought into the bowl-game fold, there would be three fron­trun­ners for the site. As the 1060 Project to ren­o­vate Wrigley Field pro­gresses, the venue would have mod­ern ameni­ties to sup­ple­ment the nov­elty of play­ing in a sto­ried, cen­tury-old ball­park. Cubs Pres­i­dent Crane Ken­ney told the Tribune that the end zone is­sue from the 2010 North­west­ern-Illi­nois game could be eas­ily re­solved. In that con­test, the team on of­fense had to ad­vance to­ward only one end zone be­cause the other was too close to a brick wall and was deemed dan­ger­ous to the play­ers.

That said, both the Yan­kees and Red Sox (Fen­way Park hosted Notre Dame-Bos­ton Col­lege in 2015) have made sta­dium lo­gis­tics work, and the Cubs can too.

What to call it: The Ivy Bowl, Friendly Con­fines Bowl or Cub­bie Bowl.

SOL­DIER FIELD

As is the case with Nashville’s Mu­sic City Bowl, Sol­dier Field is a mod­ern NFL venue on the city’s wa­ter­front within walk­ing dis­tance of a num­ber of ho­tels and tourist des­ti­na­tions. That’s crit­i­cal be­cause bowl games are about more than just foot­ball for the teams and fans.

North­west­ern coach Pat Fitzgerald and his team vis­ited numer­ous New York sights lead­ing up to the Pin­stripe Bowl, in­clud­ing the Na­tional Sept. 11 Me­mo­rial and Mu­seum.

In an in­creas­ingly crowded bowl land­scape, the games and cities of­fer­ing cul­tur­ally en­rich­ing ex­pe­ri­ences will stand out. Nashville has seen its bowl game rise up the peck­ing or­der in terms of the cal­iber of teams it at­tracts, de­spite be­ing around only since 1998.

What to call it: The Lakeshore Bowl or Mid­way Bowl come to mind.

GUAR­AN­TEED RATE FIELD

The “G Spot,” or what­ever the nick­name of the venue will be, hosted col­lege foot­ball in its first event of the post-U.S. Cel­lu­lar Field era. While only about 10,000 fans turned out for North­ern Illi­nois vs. Toledo, the con­test on Nov. 9 went off with­out a hitch lo­gis­ti­cally.

What to call it: The hash­tag #Bet­terSox Sta­di­umNames demon­strated the cre­ative power Chicago has for brand­ing, so putting it to use again might be worth­while. Oth­er­wise, the Sil­ver and Black Bowl would do.

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