A day after the US Coast Guard revealed that the sinking of an oil rig licensed by BP was leaking 1,000 barrels of crude oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico, the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox announced that their interleague games would be sponsored by the oil company in what would be called the “BP Crosstown Classic.”
It’s now the largest oil spill in American history, and even though there seems to be no end in sight for the crisis, the top marketing executives for both teams told CNBC.com on Wednesday that the sponsorship was still on.
The team that wins the most games of the six-game series from June 11-13 and June 25-27 will be awarded the “BP Crosstown Cup.”
“We are extremely loyal to our sponsors,” said Wally Hayward, executive vice president, chief sales and marketing officer for the Cubs. “We’ve had a relationship with Old Style for 60 years, with Anheuser Busch for 30 years and we agreed to put the Toyota sign in our bleachers way before they had their problems. We believe in the BP brand and we’re going to be loyal to them during this difficult time.”
Hayward said that due to the accident, BP—which already is in the hole nearly $1 billion and has lost $62 billion in market value since the spill started—has scaled back its activation of the event, cutting back on radio and television advertising and some grassroots marketing, but BP stations have continued to promote the battle between the city rivals in local gas stations.
“It’s a terrible accident and we understand that BP has to focus its energies on the effort to rectify the situation,” said 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.”
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