By the Staff of NYSportsJournalism.com
December 22, 2016: Late in the night on Nov. 2, moments after Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant fielded a ground ball off the bat of Cleveland Indians batter Michael Martinez and threw it to first baseman Anthony Rizzo for the final out of the 2016 World Series, Nike, Budweiser and MLB, in that order, were on Fox with commercials that were both congratulatory and self-serving.
ESPN, American Airlines, Under Armour, Chevrolet, Topps, Red Bull, New Era and Uber were also among the brands and companies that hit the ground running with activation to celebrate the Cubs, owned by several members of the Ricketts Family, winning their first World Series title since 1908.
Budweiser dug out a 1984 spot, "Cubs Fan, Bud Man," staring the now-late Harry Caray, the long-time legendary Cubs broadcaster, sitting with fans in Wrigley Field cheering on the team and dreaming of announcing a World Series, which was updated with the text, "Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series Champions."
The Anhueser-Busch brand also broke a second spot, "Harry Caray's Last Call: Fly The W," in which Caray, via calls pieced together from his broadcasts, having him doing play-by-play for Game 7 and ultimately proclaiming, "The Cubs have won." It played out to real images of Cubs fans watching the game and reacting to the win. It closes with a shot of the Harry Caray statue outside of Wrigley Field, wearing a Cubs jersey, with the text, "Harry, They Did It."
MLB in its post-game spot, "Wishing Wanting Waiting World Champions," ran through a visual history of the Cubs going back to 1908, featuring such iconic Cubs players as Ernie Banks, Ron Santo and Billy Williams as well as fans, billy goats and black cats, ending with the Cubs celebrating and shots of Cubs World Series gear (found on MLB's online shopping destination via Fanatics), including caps from official partner New Era.
ESPN broke its own ode to the Cubs via its "This Is SportsCenter" campaign, "Zero Years Since The Cubs Won The World Series," showing a staffer changing a sign that read, "108 Years Since Chicago Cubs Won World Series” to “0 Years Since Chicago Cubs Won World Series."
The AP Named the Cubs winning the World Series the "Top Sports Story of the Year."
Several Cubs players have seen individual residuals from winning the Series. MLB marketing partner Chevrolet presented on-air a 2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS 50th Anniversary Edition to Series MVP Ben Zobrist, which was shown by Fox.
Zobrist, Addison Russell and Javier Baez were feted at a parade on Main Street in Disney World.
Topps, the exclusive trading card partner for MLB, signed Kris Bryant "to the largest and most significant exclusive card deal in the company’s baseball history."
Wrigley Field, the team’s iconic home venue, also benefited from the team’s run to glory.
Toyota, a Cubs legacy partner that has had its its name on the front marquee sign at Wrigley Field on the corner of Addison and Clark, received national attention with the words, "World Series Champions" added to "Wrigley Field Home of the Chicago Cubs."
Investment firm Nuveen received national broadcast air time during the playoffs and World Series with its huge sign in the left field bleachers — 57 feet wide with nine-foot-high letters, according to the team — a deal signed before the 2016 season. Budweiser, Wintrust (financial firm), CBRE (real estate) and Under Armour also had major visibility with signage in the outfield.
Among the countless fans who finally got to see the Cubs win the World Series was Craig Sager, long-time Turner Sports reporter, who passed away from complications due to cancer on Dec. 15, but not before making good on a $1,000 bet he had placed every year since 1981 that the Cubbies would be the champs of MLB.
SHARE ON TWITTER
Back to Top Ten Sports Marketers 2016
Back to Home Page