Bring The Big Ten Championship Game To Chicago

Tuesday’s column from CBS Chicago

(CBS) The Big Ten Championship Game isn’t a very big deal.

Not in Indianapolis, at least.

So, how about bringing the thing to Chicago instead?

This past Saturday night, the announced attendance at Lucas Oil Stadium for the Big Ten’s title tilt between Wisconsin and Nebraska was 41,620. That meager number was nearly 23,000 fans smaller than the announced crowd of 64,152 at last year’s game in Indy – or about the equivalency of an Illinois football home game this season.


Last December, I attended the inaugural Big Ten Championship Game at Lucas Oil, and can tell you that although more than 64,000 fans were announced, there weren’t nearly that many actual people in the stands. As a result, in a column following the 2011 contest, I offered up a proposal to Big Ten commish Jim Delany, writing that “If game attendance and ticket demand in Indy doesn’t improve markedly the next few years, the Big Ten should bring its football championship to Chicago’s Soldier Field.”

Well, the attendance certainly didn’t improve markedly this past weekend. Rather, it sunk startlingly. And that was even with a matchup that featured the University of Nebraska, whose fans are known for generally traveling like locusts. I consider this past weekend’s shrunken crowd and shriveled ticket demand a clear-cut sign that Indy shouldn’t claim exclusive rights to the Big Ten Championship Game.

And that, just like with the Big Ten Basketball Tournament, Chicago should get its shot at hosting the event, as well.

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