Cubs, Ricketts Turn Ushers into Billboards

CHICAGO—Cubs owner Tom Ricketts told the Chicago Tribune that he’s found a new way to bring in revenue to the second highest payroll in Major League Baseball. Instead of fighting for ad space in and around historic Wrigley Field, Ricketts says he can help lessen the effect of declining attendance through walking billboards.

“The ushers have always been a part of the unique ‘Friendly Confines’ experience,” a spokesman for the Ricketts family told The Flipside. “Now, they’ll play an even larger role. Each usher will represent a different brand throughout the game.”

From tattoos to neon signs to miniature billboards that cover most of the body (but not completely, they will be designed so that fans can see through much of the ad to not detract from the elegance of the Wrigley atmosphere), ushers will, in some way or another, be walking advertisements for Cubs sponsors.

The Cubs continue to find other marketing opportunities around Wrigley and in the action. The Make-A-Wish Foundation has agreed to sponsor every Cubs homerun. Additionally, BP will sponsor every Cubs error.

In an effort to cut costs, Ricketts has decided to eliminate organ-played at-bat music. The organ was put on Craigslist yesterday. Ricketts is asking for $65 and “anyone who wants to push an organ down several ramps.”

Instead, each Cubs player will have their own theme music.

“We have You Tube open on my PC,” says Wrigley technician Frank Gorgatta. “When a certain player comes up to bat, we type in his song. It’s a good system. We get to skip those $0.99 charges on iTunes. We don’t have to pay any royalties either because we only play a couple seconds.”

The Cubs open up a weekend inter-league series today at Wrigley for the first time against the Angels.

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