Cubs Marketing Department Playing with Fire

By Chris Rewers on Sunday, May 1, 2011

Maybe, it's the way the Bud Light Bleachers have been marketed over the last three decades.

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The Bud Light Bleachers: A great place to watch a game or the world's largest beer garden?

The Cubs have tried to sell the seating area as an extension of the many bars that surround the ballpark. It's a place to have a few beers with your friends and pick up chicks. It's a launching pad for your buddy's bachelor party. It's the place to be. It's a spot where anything can happen.

The bleachers can be an ideal place to take in a ballgame. It offers an ideal vantage point of pitches, a terrific view of the outfield, and the opportunity to catch a home run ball. During the summer, there is not a better setting in Chicago to soak in some rays.

When the weather is cooler, early in the season, the bleachers are the warmest part of the ballpark.

Last week, the Cubs, who are attempting to fill the ballpark in any way possible, announced "specials" for bleacher ticket holders starting on various dates in May, and continuing for the rest of the season.

On Mondays starting May 30, bleacher patrons will receive T-shirts. The first in a series will be the Koyie Hill-designed "PASS10N" shirt that honors Ron Santo.

On Wednesdays beginning May 11, Vienna Beef hot dogs will cost just a buck.

On Tuesdays starting May 10, Budweiser and Bud Light will be on sale for $3.

It'll be like lighting a match in the middle of a gas field. The $3 beer price is less than half the regular ballpark price of $6.50 and also much lower than what many of the nearby bars charge.

I sat in the bleachers while attending last Tuesday night's game - my first game out there in seven years. It was a relatively tame weeknight crowd that was distracted by that's night's Bulls and Blackhawks playoff games. But I did perceive an edge that is absent from other seating areas within the Friendly Confines. It's a younger crowd. Many of the patrons are there to hang out with friends instead of to watch a game. There is a lack of respect shown by many for the players on the field, ballpark employees, and other fans.

There is more cursing. And if I happen to be sitting with my son, that's too bad.
The bleachers, I've often times been told, "is no place for kids."

Sorry if it ruins your good time, pal, but in a civil society, any seating area at a ballpark should be appropriate for a child.

I understand that because of the limited seating capacity of Wrigley Field, the lack of a Jumbotron, and the limited advertising inside the park that the Cubs are operating on thin profit margins. It is imperative to achieve as close as possible to 100-percent capacity. The $3 beer promotion demonstrates that the Cubs will try to achieve that goal at all costs.

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