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#pounditSaturday, May 8, 2021

Cubs Explain Decision to Market Derek Jeter, Opposing Players on Billboards

A Chicago Cubs marketing flub has caused quite the stir around the blogosphere and beyond.  On Wednesday, Tremendous Upside Potential called our attention to a Chicago-area billboard marketing single-game Cubs tickets.  For whatever reason, Derek Jeter makes up 50 percent of the players featured on that particular billboard. Here it is:

For more on the billboard, Larry Brown Sports caught up with Kevin Saghy, a public relations and marketing specialist for the Cubs.  Saghy explained that the image used on the billboard you see above was carried over from the Cubs marketing campaign for their “Pick 13 Plan,” which gives fans an opportunity to customize a ticket package and see the Cubs take on top-tier opponents like the White Sox and Yankees.  Here’s a similar billboard that makes slightly more sense:

“The idea behind this year’s creative campaign was to highlight some of the biggest match-ups of the 2011 season — particularly for the Pick 13 Plan and Six Pack Plan that have been available before single game tickets,” Saghy said. “To capture the rare match-up in Wrigley Field with the New York Yankees, DraftFCB (marketing partner) and the Cubs picked one of the Yankees’ most popular players and proven leader, Derek Jeter, and matched him up against the up-and-coming Starlin Castro.”

As you can see, the first billboard is for single-game tickets — hence why it makes absolutely no sense to feature one Cubs player and Jeter. The explanation helps clarify what happened, but the jury is still out on whether or not the Cubs need to be using opposing players to sell tickets. They may have zero World Series titles in the past 100-plus years, but their fan base is as rabid as they come. Teams like the Los Angeles Clippers (pre-Blake Griffin) needed to market opposing players to fill the seats, but you wouldn’t think the Cubs would have to take the same approach. With the amount of flack they caught on Wednesday, they probably won’t in the future.


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