This weekend, the National League’s Chicago Cubs are facing off against their crosstown American League rivals, the Chicago White Sox. The interleague showdown is being sponsored by BP. The British company signed a three-year deal with the teams on April 26, just days after the oil disaster in the Gulf occurred.
As the Chicago Tribune’s Phil Rogers notes, instead of wasting money on this marketing exercise, BP could probably “use every dollar it can get to try to get to the bottom of the devastating leak in the Gulf of Mexico.”
Before the game, the trophy was wheeled out to the home-plate area and presented to the fans. As might be expected, the fans responded by booing loudly. Watch a local report:
Promotions during the games have been “scaled back.” Both teams, however, sent out press releases on Friday saying they stand with their corporate sponsor:
— Brooks Boyer, senior vice president of sales and marketing for the White Sox: “But just like we have tough seasons, our partners have tough times and we aren’t going to turn our back on our partners. We hope that in the coming years, the BP Crosstown Cup will be part of the social fabric of Chicago.”
— Cubs spokesman 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.”
The teams are out of touch with what their respective fans think. Cubs fan Chris Silva said he is upset at how BP has handled the oil spill. “It’s ruined the environment. It’s ridiculous how can you support them doing this cup between the two teams. It’s sad,” he said.
Local Fox reporter Tera Williams said she tried to look for baseball fans who thought that the BP cup was a good idea, “but we couldn’t find anyone. In fact, a lot of fans telling us that they are boycotting BP gas stations.”