SBD/February 20, 2013/Franchises

Cubs To Tweak Gameday Presentation, Including Seventh-Inning Stretch Festivities

Guest conductors for the seventh-inning stretch will be more Chicago-oriented
The Cubs this season will slightly change the gameday presentation at Wrigley Field, including "more taped music, more stats on the LED board in right field and some tweaking of the seventh-inning stretch," according to Paul Sullivan of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Cubs Senior Dir of Marketing Alison Miller said that guest conductors will "continue to lead the seventh-inning stretch," a team tradition since Harry Caray's death in '98. However, Game & Event Production Manager Jim Oboikowitch said that the franchise will "try to make it Chicago-oriented with more former Cubs and celebrities who are Chicago-area natives and follow the team." He said, "I do think we want to get 'A listers,' so if there is that celebrity in a movie." Oboikowitch added, "But we want them to understand what they're coming to do -- not just come into the broadcast booth and (to promote something). They should know something about the Cubs." Sullivan notes organ music will still be utilized, but Oboikowitch said that the Cubs "will 'upgrade' the music with more modern, taped music, cutting down on the advertising announcements over the p.a. system." The Cubs are considering "having an introductory song at the start of games, as they did with Van Halen's 'Jump' in the '80s." Focus groups "showed fans liked the LED board in right field, though it seemed to be one non-stop display of ads." Oboikowitch said that the board will "feature 'new age' stats and more facts on players." Meanwhile, the Cubs have "chosen a local ad agency, after using one from Brooklyn" last season, and a new slogan "will be unveiled March 8" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/20).

PAYROLL GOING UP IN THE FUTURE? Comcast SportsNet Chicago’s David Kaplan noted Cubs Chair Tom Ricketts recently alluded to that fact the team "could not sustain the payroll that the Tribune Company used to operate under the current revenue models that the franchise has.” Kaplan asked Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein of the team's payroll, “Do you feel like ... you need more revenue to take it to where you think it's going to get to four years from now?” Epstein said, “I don't have much concern about where the payroll was in the past. My concern is building up the organization so we get healthier and healthier. We have that core of talent, so when we can justify when it's the right time putting the hammer down and getting the payroll to a level where we can keep all the players that we develop, we can add from the outside and we can look down on paper and have a team that should win 90-plus games every single year" (“Chicago Tribune Live,” Comcast SportsNet Chicago, 2/18).
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