The Cubs and American Airlines Thursday announced a long-term Legacy Partnership that makes American Airlines the Official Airline of the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field.
American Airlines replaced United Airlines as the exclusive airline of the Chicago Cubs. United Airlines signed a three-year contract with the team in 2011 and had been a sponsor of the team since 2004.
Financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed. According to the Tribune, the Cubs and American Airlines signed a multi-year agreement to lock American Airlines in as the only airline sponsor on a long-term partnership. Other Legacy Partnerships have been for 10 years and paid the team seven figures annually.
The airline will have a branding presence at Wrigley Field and Sloan Park in Mesa, Arizona, including near the Cubs’ batting circle at Wrigley Field, rotational signage at Sloan Park during Spring Training games and between-inning video board features in both ballparks. American will host additional fan activations with the team, including Cubs player and mascot appearances, giveaways and Cubs Road Trip sweepstakes.
Beginning with the 2017 season, the Cubs will add a new premium club space located behind home plate, tentatively titled the “American Airlines Club,” with access for premium box seat ticket holders.
American also becomes a Hall of Fame sponsor of Cubs Charities’ primary fundraising event, the Bricks and Ivy Ball, and will provide domestic round-trip air travel packages for the organization’s fundraising efforts.
In an agreement with a separate enterprise controlled by the Ricketts family, American will present the “American Airlines Executive Conference Center” as part of the office building to be developed in the new plaza adjacent to Wrigley Field.
“We are very pleased to have American Airlines on board as the Official Airline of the Chicago Cubs,” said Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts in a statement. “This partnership will provide important resources to help us build a winning team on the field and save Wrigley Field for future generations. We look forward to working with American to strengthen our brand connection in Chicago.”
“We have 8,500 airline teammates in Chicago, and we are ecstatic to strengthen our deep ties to one of our biggest hubs by becoming long-term partners with the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field,” said Fernand Fernandez, American’s vice president of Global Marketing in a statement. “Having operated millions of flights out of O’Hare since 1982 and now teaming up with Cubs, it’s clear that we’re the hometown airline in Chicago.”
The American Airlines Legacy Partnership was secured by W Partners, an agency launched in February of 2013. The Cubs entered into an agreement with W Partners to secure legacy partnerships as part of the 1060 Project.
American Airlines becomes the seventh Legacy Partner of the Chicago Cubs, joining Anheuser-Busch, ATI Physical Therapy, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Under Armour, Wintrust and Sloan Valve Company.