Now that ESPN's College Gameday will officially be on campus for next Saturday's Northwestern-Ohio State game, the question immediately turns to where it will be held. Initially, it looked like Deering Meadow was a prime candidate — it's an easy location to get to with a great view of iconic Deering Library. However, we were told that Deering is an unlikely location due to its conflict with Homecoming festivities. That leaves the Lakefill — specifically the spot just side of Lakeside Field where Dillo Day is held — as the best remaining possibility. And according to Danny Ecker of Crain's Chicago Business (a great sports business follow at @DannyEcker), that's the preference of NU President Morty Shapiro:
"That would be my preference," Northwestern President Morty Schapiro told (Ecker) this morning. "We're really keen on (using) the lakefront. We're on the lake, we have a beach, a view of Chicago. We're really excited about that and I think that's where it will be."
Check out the rest of the article for more from Shapiro, but when the university president gives his vote, that carries some weight.
Even if Deering was a possibility, the Lakefill might be the best spot, at least from a recruiting standpoint. Northwestern is doing all it can to sell its lakefront positioning, and this provides another opportunity to do so. The new athletic facility will be positioned on the lakefront and the NU football team has held a number of practices on Lakeside Field this year. It will be the ultimate marketing opportunity for the athletic department, and if the weather works out (oof), it will be one helluva view. ESPN will have "scouts" on campus to determine the best location from a logistical standpoint, but considering Dillo Day can get a giant stage on that spot, Gameday should be able to make things work.
The one drawback to the Lakefill is that the Dillo Day spot, in particular, doesn't have much of a view of Chicago. But while it may not be as close to the city as NU's Photoshop gurus would like you to believe, there will be plenty of opening shots that capture the view of the city from the other end of the Lakefill. [Update: I found out that picture is not Photoshopped, just a really good photo with a professional camera.] Plus, as Jon Davis (@NUHighlights) pointed out, there's still a view of the skyline. All in all, the Lakefill looks like the best spot on campus for Gameday, for both ESPN and NU.
My case for GameDay on the grass immediately south of Lakeside Field pic.twitter.com/AdhvI8VoG0
— Jon Davis (@NUHighlights) September 29, 2013