American says it wants to be Chicago’s “hometown airline”, even though United operates a larger hub at ORD and is based downtown at the Willis Tower. To that end, American has signed a multi-year deal with the Chicago Cubs to be their exclusive airline partner, stealing the title from United whose contract expired earlier this year. United will hold on to their sponsorship with the Chicago White Sox.
Fernand Fernandez, American’s vice president of global marketing had this to say:
“For us, it’s really about putting a stake in the ground and saying, ‘We’re going to be No. 1 in Chicago,” Fernandez said in an interview. “This is a big deal, a big relationship we have in Chicago.”
The Cubs told the Chicago Tribune that:
The deal involves an American Airlines fixed sign on the brick wall by the Cubs’ batting circle at Wrigley Field and video board features in the ballpark. Beginning with the 2017 season, American and the Cubs will add a new stadium club behind home plate for box seat ticket holders, the airline said. An existing stadium club previously sponsored by United will have a new non-airline sponsor, said Colin Faulkner, vice president of sales and partnerships with the Cubs.