Ryan Field: Northwestern University releases photos of new intimate, fan-centered stadium

Northwestern University released renderings Wednesday for a new stadium that would replace the current 97-year-old structure.

The announcement comes one year after the Pat and Shirley Ryan family announced a transformative gift to build a new Ryan Field.

The new Ryan Field stadium campus will be funded with private dollars and will require no taxpayer financing.

Proposed highlights of the new stadium include: 

  • A more intimate setting: It is designed for a maximum capacity of 35,000 people — which is about 12,000 fewer than the current Ryan Field;
  • A state-of-the-art canopy designed to focus noise and light on the field;
  • A modern stadium campus with plazas, a community park and other green spaces to enjoy year-round activities;
  • A more accessible and inclusive stadium;
  • Designed to achieve Gold LEED certification

Credit: Northwestern

Authorities say the new stadium will be fan-centered and will have chair backs for every fan and a student section modeled on other sports.

It will also have cutting-edge technology and scoreboards, and will have upgraded concessions, featuring food from local restaurants. 

"We are extremely excited to move forward with a transformational stadium project and grateful to our University leadership and to the Board of Trustees for their decision to take the next steps toward a new Ryan Field," said Dr. Derrick Gragg, Combe Family Vice President for Athletics and Recreation. "We are all grateful to the Ryan Family for their unwavering commitment to Northwestern University and our academic and athletics programs. I have no doubt that the privately funded stadium will be a gamechanger for our football program, athletics department and the community, and will be in line with our other excellent facilities including Welsh-Ryan Arena and Ryan Fieldhouse."


The Ryan Family's gift was the largest in Northwestern history, and not only funded the new stadium, but will also accelerate breakthroughs in biomedical, economics and business research, the school said.

Credit: Northwestern

"Our family’s commitment to athletics is much deeper than football. It’s about developing the body, mind and soul, which we experienced as undergraduates at Northwestern and have carried with us throughout our lives," said Pat Ryan. "The new Ryan Field will be more than just an amazing home for Wildcat football. Our hope is that through this new stadium campus, Ryan Field is reimagined as an architecturally significant year-round gathering place for the Northwestern and Evanston communities that is accessible to all." 

The university is also considering hosting a limited number of concerts each year at the new Ryan Field.

Preliminary information provided by the university says having concerts in the area could generate over $35 million in new tax revenue for Evanston from Northwestern over the first decade of the new Ryan Field.

Residents can learn more about the project on the new Ryan Field website: rebuildryanfield.com.

Credit: Northwestern