Reporting Lisa Fielding
CHICAGO (WBBM) - Late November in the Wrigleyville neighborhood isn’t exactly a busy time for the taverns around the home of the Chicago Cubs. So the local bar owners are plenty happy that guys in pads and helmets are about to take the field.
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Slugger’s Bar on Clark Street is treating Saturday’s Northwestern-Illinois football game like a big Cubs game, says spokesman Ari Strauss.
“Any time you have 40,000 people at Wrigley and it’s not a baseball game, that’s an exciting thing.”
Meghan Armbruster from Sports Corner says it’s going to be a great economic shot in the arm for them after a dismal baseball season.
“After the World Series was over, we were kinda slow, so we are really excited about being busy.”
Both say they’ve increased staff and their private party rooms are already booked.
Strauss says Sluggers isn’t taking sides and it’s welcoming NU Wildcat and Illini fans alike to spend their time and money in Wrigleyville.
“We have our lights up, both banners up. We like Northwestern and Illinois and we’re friendly to everyone,” Strauss said.
On Monday, the red Wrigley marquee was painted “Northwestern” purple, gold posts are up and names of teams have been painted onto the field.
The game will be played at 2:30 p.m., but a street festival on Sheffield Avenue, dubbed “Wildcat Way”, will be held beginning at 10 a.m. with 10 large screen TVs for those who do not have a ticket.
Officials liken the game to a “bowl” like atmosphere, with all 40,000 tickets sold and nearby viewing rooftops also sold out.