A Project of Northwestern University

Ryan Field: A New Vision

The new Ryan Field will create a world-class home for Northwestern University Athletics and a best in the nation football experience for fans, players, and a year-round asset for the community.

The project will be privately funded - with no taxpayer financing and significant public benefits.

Ryan Field Stadium Campus

A new vision for the community

The new Ryan Field stadium campus is possible due to a generous gift from the Ryan Family.

The Ryan Family’s gift was the largest in Northwestern history, and included funding not just for the new stadium, but to accelerate breakthroughs in biomedical, economics and business research.

  • Fully funded with private dollars – meaning NO taxpayer financing
  • Will pump hundreds of millions of dollars into the community creating thousands of jobs
  • Be the only new Power Five football stadium built without public money this century

RYAN STADIUM CAMPUS

Design Priorities

An accessible, sustainable, year-round community asset

The new architecturally compelling Ryan Field stadium campus will address the deficiencies of the current stadium and community concerns, interests and goals. It will feature a lower and more appealing profile than the current stadium and will serve as a year-round hub for community activities.

Reduced Congestion

12,000 fewer seats means fewer cars – plus bike valets, ride share plans, and public transit opportunities

Noise & Light

A landscaping buffer and a state-of-the-art canopy will reduce the impact of noise and light on the neighborhood

Sustainability

Beautiful plazas with public green space and LEED Gold-Certified design for a more sustainable Ryan Field

Fan Experience

The best college football experience in the nation

  • Accessible

    The new Ryan Field aspires to be the most accessible stadium in college football

  • Every Seat is Premium

    With world-class amenities and the best sightlines in college sports

  • Tailgating

    New plazas creating a premium fan experience - without intrusion into the surrounding neighborhood

     

Benefits for Evanston

Creating economic opportunity for all

The new stadium project will create significant economic benefits for Evanston. During the construction phase the project will generate:

$11+ million

Direct Fees to Evanston

$659.9+ million

In Economic Impact to Evanston

2,924
jobs

Supported During the Rebuild

Our Commitment

The University is committed to creating economic opportunities for minority-owned, woman-owned and local Evanston businesses.

The target for total subcontracted spending with local, minority-owned and women-owned businesses for the Ryan Field project is 35%, with priority given to businesses and individuals located in Evanston.

Get Involved, Stay Informed

The University plans to share additional concepts with the community through a series of listening and learning sessions over the coming months before formally beginning the entitlement process with the City of Evanston.

Listening Events

Meet with representatives of Northwestern University to discuss the new Ryan Field project!

Current Schedule

Tuesday, Dec 6 from 9-11 AM

Tuesday, Dec 13 from 9-11 AM

Where

Anderson Hall

Parking

East Parking Lot

Download Flyer

We want your input!

We are prioritizing community feedback. Please share yours.

Frequently Asked Questions

Need & Vision

University leadership has been actively listening to athletes, coaches, fans, stadium neighbors and Evanston residents to better understand the shortcomings of the current stadium and the “wish-list” for a new Ryan Field. The current stadium:

  • lacks many essential features, accessibility and amenities found in modern stadiums befitting a Big Ten school.
  • has poor and outdated acoustic engineering to safeguard stadium neighbors from noise
  • emits significant light pollution that can be changed through modern technology. 

We have a once-in-a-century opportunity to build a new world-class stadium for all of Evanston that is completely privately funded and developed in collaboration with the community.  The new Ryan Field will be an improvement in every way and deliver a sports experience befitting one of the world’s great universities. It will be the preeminent site to take in a college football game as well as a gathering space for all ages. The new Ryan Field and plazas will:

  • create a world class home for Northwestern University Athletics and a best-in-the-nation football experience for fans, players, and the community.
  • be consistent with the global standing of Northwestern University and its premier footing in the Big Ten.
  • be a community-oriented venue providing space for local non-profits and community organizations to use for fundraising and other activities.
  • feature a state-of-the-art canopy that will help contain crowd noise and lights. The new, modern design will be a vast improvement over the current stadium.
  • include new and improved greenspace modeled after iconic parks like Maggie Daley Park in Chicago

And, with USC and UCLA joining the Big Ten, the new stadium will help showcase Northwestern University to an even broader and more global audience.  

  • Historically, stadiums existed for large capacity events. Ryan Field was originally built for this purpose. Large capacity event-only stadiums are now out-of-date.
  • The new Ryan Field will be designed for a maximum capacity of 35,000 — a more intimate setting with a capacity approximately 12,000 less than the current Ryan Field.
  • There will be community plazas, much more green space and park area, and significant landscaped buffers between the stadium and surrounding neighborhoods.
  • The stadium will be lower than it is currently – about 30 feet lower than the current height of the press box.

Yes, the new Ryan Field and plazas will be built to exceed all ADA requirements for accessibility by all. The new stadium will apply Universal Design standards and will set a new standard for accessibility and inclusivity, making it among the most accessible stadiums in the country.

Yes, the new Ryan Field and plazas will be built to LEED gold certification.

Funding For The Rebuild

No. Zero taxpayer dollars are needed to build and maintain the new Ryan Field and plazas. 

Benefits To Evanston

  • The projected economic impact is more than $600 million to the City of Evanston during the construction period alone
  • Tripp Umbach, a nationally recognized economist, projects the new Ryan Field will create 2,900 new jobs and generate over $10 million in direct fees to Evanston throughout the construction period.

  • Since a facility like this cannot be financially viable on just seven football games, the University is considering hosting a limited number of concerts each year.
  • The University is not proposing a specific number of such events at this time as it continues to fully analyze what is required for financial viability and intends to work closely with the City of Evanston, residents, and community partners in determining the optimal number of concerts per year.
  • Preliminary market studies indicate that the current interest in concerts in the area could generate over $35 million in new tax revenue for the City of Evanston from Northwestern over the first decade of the new Ryan Field alone.

  • The stadium will also host community-oriented events such as winter festivals, holiday celebrations, student movie nights, intramural sports championships as well as additional student community programming.
  • The space will offer a low-cost, high value venue for faculty events.
  • The new stadium will be an ideal venue to host other top collegiate sporting events like the Women’s Lacrosse Final Four.

Addressing Community Concerns

As a vast improvement over the current stadium, the new, modern design will feature a state-of-the-art canopy that will better contain crowd noise and curtail lighting impacts.

The University is in the process of receiving bids from contractors to fix the chillers. We anticipate that noise mitigation construction will be completed prior to the end of this year.

The way Ryan Field is laid out now, fans are forced to tailgate well beyond the footprint of the stadium. The new plazas in the new Ryan Field will create an organized and well-defined space for pre-game activities.

  • The new Ryan Field will be designed for a maximum capacity of 35,000 — a more intimate setting with a capacity approximately 12,000 less than the current Ryan Field. That means fewer people coming to and leaving games.
  • Plans call for a bike valet system, keeping more cars off the road. Northwestern University aspires to have the stadium be among the most bike-friendly college venues in America.
  • There is a plan in the works for strategic and streamlined ride sharing with designated drop-off points to prevent unnecessary traffic in and around the neighborhood.
  • And, the University is planning to engage with CTA and Metra in hopes of optimizing public transit to/from the new Ryan Field Campus.
  • We have a plan to reduce congestion on game days.

The University is committed to creating economic opportunities for minority-owned, woman-owned and local Evanston businesses and residents. The target for total subcontracted spending with local, minority-owned and woman-owned businesses is 35%, with priority given to businesses and individuals located in Evanston.