Northwestern game (Nov. 25th): 2:30pm CT, BTN

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#2      
The one time I would have been happy about an 11 am start and we are at 2:30.

This will be a cold one! I am coming in the night before to see the basketball game and wanted the morning slot since it's late in the year and the sun sets at like 4:00.

Also, not that it should be on NBC but we did not get the Sat night game once this year. We got 2 Friday night games but no Sat night. Maybe next year...

As for game times, Homecoming and Dad's Day should ALWAYS be at 2:30. Also, I like 1 Sat night home game each year.
 
#3      

MDchicago

Lake Norman NC
If we don't beat Iowa, find myself in the odd position of rooting for Northwestern to beat Purdue to sidestep an Illini-NW claw-their-eyes-out game the following week with both sides needing a win to be bowl eligible. Though I'm ok with that too as long as we win....
 
#4      
Super annoying that Northwestern has seemingly turned their season around and this is no longer a gimme.
 
#5      

Illini2010-11

Sugar Grove
If we don't beat Iowa, find myself in the odd position of rooting for Northwestern to beat Purdue to sidestep an Illini-NW claw-their-eyes-out game the following week with both sides needing a win to be bowl eligible. Though I'm ok with that too as long as we win....
And if both Illini and NW win Saturday to set up a showdown of 6-5 teams, it might end up becoming a battle to ensure that Detroit is not the bowl destination.
 
#9      
Our daughter & son-in-law and 14 &12 year old granddaughters will be there with us for their first game (our daughter‘s first game since she was a teen). We’re hoping the weather’s not too brutal…
Peaking at a forecast this early won’t do us much good, but as long as we stay dry, I’ll be happy. Nothing worse than sitting in a cold November rain.

Here’s hoping for great memories with you and your family. I will also be bringing someone for their first Illini football experience.
 
#10      

GrayGhost77

Centennial, CO
Peaking at a forecast this early won’t do us much good, but as long as we stay dry, I’ll be happy. Nothing worse than sitting in a cold November rain.

Here’s hoping for great memories with you and your family. I will also be bringing someone for their first Illini football experience.
Guns N Roses GIF by KINK
 
#11      
Anyone else going to suffer in the cold for this one?
I'll throw my annual plug out there for this one. IF the Bears move to an indoor stadium in Arlington Heights, I think it becomes a no-brainer to move the Illini/Northwestern game there permanently for this weekend. Is it a desperate attempt to make a perennially lame and poorly attended game into some type of gimmicky tradition? Of course ... but that's honestly better than we have got now! This game literally never draws well:

2022: 25,744 in Evanston (about half of whom were Illini fans)
2021: 27,624 in Champaign
2019: 35,895 in Champaign
2018: 37,124 in Evanston
2017: 30,456 in Champaign
2016: 30,022 in Evanston
...
2001: 45,755 in Champaign for #10 Illini clinching a Big Ten championship

The attendance in Champaign for the NU game is also always lower than our average attendance going into that game for the season, sometimes by a pretty drastic margin:

2023: _______ vs. 50,929 average so far
2021: 27,624 vs. 36,635 average
2019: 35,895 vs. 36,703 average
2017: 30,456 vs. 40,910 average
...
2001: 45,755 vs. 56,788 average

Color me skeptical we will sell over 50k tickets for this one. I pretty firmly believe that you could get 30k+ Illini fans and 10k+ Northwestern fans to get over 40k every year in a warm, indoor Bears stadium that will likely be surrounded by bars and restaurants. In years where either/both teams are actually good, I think you could get really big crowds, mostly driven by us.
 
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#12      
I'll throw my annual plug out there for this one. IF the Bears move to an indoor stadium in Arlington Heights, I think it becomes a no-brainer to move the Illini/Northwestern game there permanently for this weekend. Is it a desperate attempt to make a perennially lame and poorly attended game into some type of gimmicky tradition? Of course ... but that's honestly better than we have got now! This game literally never draws well:

2022: 25,744 in Evanston (about half of whom were Illini fans)
2021: 27,624 in Champaign
2019: 35,895 in Champaign
2018: 37,124 in Evanston
2017: 30,456 in Champaign
2016: 30,022 in Evanston
...
2001: 45,755 in Champaign for #10 Illini clinching a Big Ten championship

The attendance in Champaign for the NU game is also always lower than our average attendance going into that game for the season, sometimes by a pretty drastic margin:

2023: _______ vs. 50,929 average so far
2021: 27,624 vs. 36,635 average
2019: 35,895 vs. 36,703 average
2017: 30,456 vs. 40,910 average
...
2001: 45,755 vs. 56,788 average

Color me skeptical we will sell over 50k tickets for this one. I pretty firmly believe that you could get 30k+ Illini fans and 10k+ Northwestern fans to get over 40k every year in a warm, indoor Bears stadium that will likely be surrounded by bars and restaurants. In years where either/both teams are actually good, I think you could get really big crowds, mostly driven by us.
That 2019 game might have had 15-20k people actually there. The weather was miserable and we played equally miserable.
 
#14      

Captain 14

The Last Best Place
Kinda begs the question: Is it really a rivalry?
Better question or maybe deeper dive...when exactly did this start being referred to as a rivalry game? Just because it's the final regular season contest does not constitute a rivalry.
 
#15      

mhuml32

Cincinnati, OH
I'll throw my annual plug out there for this one. IF the Bears move to an indoor stadium in Arlington Heights, I think it becomes a no-brainer to move the Illini/Northwestern game there permanently for this weekend. Is it a desperate attempt to make a perennially lame and poorly attended game into some type of gimmicky tradition? Of course ... but that's honestly better than we have got now! This game literally never draws well:

2022: 25,744 in Evanston (about half of whom were Illini fans)
2021: 27,624 in Champaign
2019: 35,895 in Champaign
2018: 37,124 in Evanston
2017: 30,456 in Champaign
2016: 30,022 in Evanston
...
2001: 45,755 in Champaign for #10 Illini clinching a Big Ten championship

The attendance in Champaign for the NU game is also always lower than our average attendance going into that game for the season, sometimes by a pretty drastic margin:

2023: _______ vs. 50,929 average so far
2021: 27,624 vs. 36,635 average
2019: 35,895 vs. 36,703 average
2017: 30,456 vs. 40,910 average
...
2001: 45,755 vs. 56,788 average

Color me skeptical we will sell over 50k tickets for this one. I pretty firmly believe that you could get 30k+ Illini fans and 10k+ Northwestern fans to get over 40k every year in a warm, indoor Bears stadium that will likely be surrounded by bars and restaurants. In years where either/both teams are actually good, I think you could get really big crowds, mostly driven by us.

Do we have a 2023 home game-by-game attendance list somewhere?
 
#16      
Kinda begs the question: Is it really a rivalry?
A great question but unfortunately kind of immaterial for us ... we are likely stuck playing them every "Rivalry Weekend" in perpetuity. I'm sure many Vols fans view their main rivals as Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, etc., but guess who they are playing on the last weekend for the rest of time? Vanderbilt. Unfortunately, it is what it is.

Regarding the poor attendance, though, there are a couple of factors that determine attendance that final weekend, IMO:

1. How exciting is the rivalry/matchup?
2. How cold will it be?
3. What percent of local students/fans are going to inevitably be out of town for Thanksgiving?
4. How high is your program's "attendance floor" for games? In other words, how much have you won over the years to build up a loyal fan base?

While Vandy is not an exciting opponent for Tennessee, the Vols likely have way less of an issue with #2, #3 and #4. We really fail every single test, haha:

1. Even when NU is way better than us, our fans just do not get that worked up for this game. The only time it has ever had any juice was right after their "Chicago's Big Ten Team" slogan, and the only game with good attendance was in Chicago at Wrigley anyway, haha.
2. I swear to God, the Saturdays before and after Thanksgiving in Champaign are cursed 90% of the time. You could get a perfect fall Saturday last weekend, and you can still get a tolerable one or two in December! However, my anecdotal memory is that our last home game is almost always miserable.
3. I don't know if the figures are the same, but at one point nearly 70% of U of I students were from the Chicago area. With more than 220,000 alumni in Chicagoland, a majority of students back in that area for Thanksgiving, non-grad fans in the area like me and maybe even some Champaign-Urbana residents traveling to the Chicago Area for family anyway ... we probably have a better chance of getting a nice crowd in Chicago for that weekend, provided we are not dealing with the same crappy weather. In other words, I oppose this game being at Soldier Field, but I support it being at an indoor Bears stadium.
4. I think it is quite clear ours is low, haha. We went from drawing barely 30k for games a couple years ago to pulling over 50k multiple times this year. Our attendance is erratic, and that is to be expected! We have passionate fans who have been through hell the past couple of decades ... they're going to be cautious to buy in, but they WANT to!
 
#17      

mhuml32

Cincinnati, OH
A great question but unfortunately kind of immaterial for us ... we are likely stuck playing them every "Rivalry Weekend" in perpetuity. I'm sure many Vols fans view their main rivals as Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, etc., but guess who they are playing on the last weekend for the rest of time? Vanderbilt. Unfortunately, it is what it is.

Regarding the poor attendance, though, there are a couple of factors that determine attendance that final weekend, IMO:

1. How exciting is the rivalry/matchup?
2. How cold will it be?
3. What percent of local students/fans are going to inevitably be out of town for Thanksgiving?
4. How high is your program's "attendance floor" for games? In other words, how much have you won over the years to build up a loyal fan base?

While Vandy is not an exciting opponent for Tennessee, the Vols likely have way less of an issue with #2, #3 and #4. We really fail every single test, haha:

1. Even when NU is way better than us, our fans just do not get that worked up for this game. The only time it has ever had any juice was right after their "Chicago's Big Ten Team" slogan, and the only game with good attendance was in Chicago at Wrigley anyway, haha.
2. I swear to God, the Saturdays before and after Thanksgiving in Champaign are cursed 90% of the time. You could get a perfect fall Saturday last weekend, and you can still get a tolerable one or two in December! However, my anecdotal memory is that our last home game is almost always miserable.
3. I don't know if the figures are the same, but at one point nearly 70% of U of I students were from the Chicago area. With more than 220,000 alumni in Chicagoland, a majority of students back in that area for Thanksgiving, non-grad fans in the area like me and maybe even some Champaign-Urbana residents traveling to the Chicago Area for family anyway ... we probably have a better chance of getting a nice crowd in Chicago for that weekend, provided we are not dealing with the same crappy weather. In other words, I oppose this game being at Soldier Field, but I support it being at an indoor Bears stadium.
4. I think it is quite clear ours is low, haha. We went from drawing barely 30k for games a couple years ago to pulling over 50k multiple times this year. Our attendance is erratic, and that is to be expected! We have passionate fans who have been through hell the past couple of decades ... they're going to be cautious to buy in, but they WANT to!

This might be a hot take, but I would vote to move up all of the rivalry games one week. Increases the likelihood there are real "stakes". Gives more flexibility for the league to scheme up the schedule for other unique matchups to end the season.
 
#18      
Do we have a 2023 home game-by-game attendance list somewhere?
48,898 vs. Toledo (6:30 pm)
49,099 vs. #7 Penn State (11:00 am)
53,512 vs. FAU (2:30 pm) - apparently a lot of no-shows and giveaways?
46,703 vs. Nebraska (Friday night at 6:00 pm)
54,205 vs. Wisconsin (2:30 pm) - Homecoming
53,157 vs. Indiana (11:00 am) - Dads Day

Remarkable improvement over the last couple of years.
 
#19      
Better question or maybe deeper dive...when exactly did this start being referred to as a rivalry game? Just because it's the final regular season contest does not constitute a rivalry.
It seemed to me that it was Beckman who really leaned into the NW rivalry thing.

For the rest of us, they're just the nerds up North that aren't that good at sportsball. :)
 
#22      
Okay, a few thoughts on all of this. Take 'em or leave 'em.

I'll throw my annual plug out there for this one. IF the Bears move to an indoor stadium in Arlington Heights, I think it becomes a no-brainer to move the Illini/Northwestern game there permanently for this weekend.
I only hate this because then season ticket prices are even less of a value. Here's what I mean: My season ticket prices haven't changed in value despite the fact that we've gone from 8 home games a year, to 7 home games a year over the last 10-ish years. Now, if this game gets moved to Chicago, there is a real chance that on some of our "home" years, where we host Northwestern in Chicago, we don't schedule a third home OOC game. Thus, we're down to six games. Yet, I guarantee our ticket prices remain the same.

Kinda begs the question: Is it really a rivalry?
Yes, it is, and it should be. In state teams should always be a natural rival. It just sucks that most years one or both teams are absolute trash. This year's game could actually have a LOT at stake, and we are fortunate it's at home. But, I do agree with everyone that it will likely not be well attended...

This might be a hot take, but I would vote to move up all of the rivalry games one week. Increases the likelihood there are real "stakes". Gives more flexibility for the league to scheme up the schedule for other unique matchups to end the season.
And this is one solution to the aforementioned problem. I think playing rivalry games 2nd-to-last adds a little more to the stakes. A 4-6 Illini team vs. a 4-6 Northwestern team is playing for a lot more than two 4-7 teams. Not to mention this weekend usually falls on Thanksgiving weekend which kills pretty much any student attendance (the minimal we get anyway). Also, we always seem to get the crappiest weather this weekend while the previous weekend is like a mini-spring.

Just because it's the final regular season contest does not constitute a rivalry.
I don't think it always was the last weekend. I recall a few times the last 15-ish years where it was maybe the first or second Big Ten game of the year.
 
#23      
I was at the 2019 NW game. Was it miserable. It pretty much stopped raining by game time. It was the day Bobby Roundtree was at the game. They ran all over us. We left at the end of the 3rd quarter. Beat Ia. and NW and go to a good bowl game will help for next year. Go Illini.
 
#24      
Okay, a few thoughts on all of this. Take 'em or leave 'em.


I only hate this because then season ticket prices are even less of a value. Here's what I mean: My season ticket prices haven't changed in value despite the fact that we've gone from 8 home games a year, to 7 home games a year over the last 10-ish years. Now, if this game gets moved to Chicago, there is a real chance that on some of our "home" years, where we host Northwestern in Chicago, we don't schedule a third home OOC game. Thus, we're down to six games. Yet, I guarantee our ticket prices remain the same.


Yes, it is, and it should be. In state teams should always be a natural rival. It just sucks that most years one or both teams are absolute trash. This year's game could actually have a LOT at stake, and we are fortunate it's at home. But, I do agree with everyone that it will likely not be well attended...


And this is one solution to the aforementioned problem. I think playing rivalry games 2nd-to-last adds a little more to the stakes. A 4-6 Illini team vs. a 4-6 Northwestern team is playing for a lot more than two 4-7 teams. Not to mention this weekend usually falls on Thanksgiving weekend which kills pretty much any student attendance (the minimal we get anyway). Also, we always seem to get the crappiest weather this weekend while the previous weekend is like a mini-spring.


I don't think it always was the last weekend. I recall a few times the last 15-ish years where it was maybe the first or second Big Ten game of the year.
I understand your concern, but hopefully this type of event would be like Braggin' Rights where season ticket holders have it included in some fashion and/or get a discount of some sort (either early access, lower prices or both). No option will ever be perfect, but we have never drawn well for this game even with teams headed to the Sugar Bowl and Rose Bowl, so I am skeptical we ever can. A huge chunk of our student body is gone, and (unlike Nebraska, Iowa, Michigan, OSU, etc.) we just have not built up a tradition among our fan base to reserve post-Thanksgiving days for an annual football rivalry game. I think having the Illini/NU game in Arlington Heights could AT LEAST provide some juice to get a decent crowd.
 
#25      
I'll throw my annual plug out there for this one. IF the Bears move to an indoor stadium in Arlington Heights, I think it becomes a no-brainer to move the Illini/Northwestern game there permanently for this weekend.

I still love this idea and am 100% in on it if it ever becomes a possibility.

Color me skeptical we will sell over 50k tickets for this one.

0% chance we get to 50k tickets sold for this one. I haven't updated the Sellout Watch ticket tracker for this game yet, but I peeked at the tickets website, and yikes, there are a lot of unsold tickets for this game. Based on the historical attendance for this game in Champaign, it appears that the tickets sold formula for this game is approximately Season Tickets + 5-10k Single Game tickets. The attendance floor in 2023 is much higher than 2022 given the 10,000+ new season tickets sold this year. And we've seen that play out in the announced attendance numbers. So with about 33,000 season ticket holders this year, I guess it'll be just under 40,000 (+/- a couple thousand) depending on the weather and outcome of the Iowa game.
 
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