SBD/Issue 185/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

BP, Cubs & White Sox Plan To Downplay Crosstown Cup Sponsorship


The Cubs and White Sox are introducing their new BP Crosstown Cup competition "with much less pomp and circumstance than they might have originally planned, even though it is the only sponsored cup of its kind" in MLB, according to Lewis Lazare of the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES. The Cubs and White Sox will face off Friday in the first of six games this season, and "with BP's problems in the Gulf having been front-page news for weeks," the timing for the new rivalry "couldn't be worse." Cubs and White Sox officials said that "it was their understanding that BP's planned promotion of the newly minted cup -- a three-foot trophy of brass with a sterling silver overlay that took local jeweler Howard Kaplan three months to create -- has been scaled way back in the wake of the oil rig explosion." Cubs PR & Marketing Specialist Kevin Saghy said, "We're trying to stand behind our sponsor, but at the same time be respectful of what's happening off the ballfield." Lazare notes despite the bad press, BP has "not moved at the last minute to remove its name from the cup or try to void the sponsorship agreement." Sports marketing execs contend that the Cup sponsorship "might look a lot better to BP -- and the Cubs and Sox -- in a year or two." The Marketing Arm Senior VP Jim Biegalski said, "If BP manages to get everything under control in the Gulf, it could come back a year from now and use the BP Cup as a great platform to help get out the message that they have successfully handled the problem" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 6/9).

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