Athletic apparel retailer Fanatics and Uber, via on ongoing merchandise delivery partnership, are enabling fans of the 2016 World Series Champion Chicago Cubs to have freshly-printed championship gear delivered in minutes through the ride-sharing app.
Uber set the service in motion Thursday, the morning after the Cubs won their first title since 1908, with almost 30 vehicles hitting Chicago streets stocked with official Cubs championship-themed Fanatics t-shirts and hats available for sale through the Uber app. Former Cub and 1987 National League MVP Andre Dawson, otherwise known as "The Hawk," personally delivered orders to a few lucky shoppers.
"This has been a healthy partnership as we go back and forth with [Uber]," Fanatics Chief Marketing Officer Chris Orton told Sports Techie. " They’re eager and we’re eager. They’re sitting in the middle of this on-demand economy. We feel like that’s what we’re bringing to the table in sports, too — the notion that you can get what you want, when you want it.”
Chicago used to be okay with waiting. We didn't really have a choice: Big city, lots of traffic, and most of all, a baseball team that made us wait more than a century for a World Series Championship. But that last event is now history: The Chicago Cubs won the 2016 World Series (yes, we know we already said it numerous times — please humor our Chicago-based staffers.)
So, anyway, we're done with waiting. We want everything now. We're a city now ready to fully buy into the on-demand era, and we want all the Cubs World Championship gear Fanatics can stock and sell off its mostly virtual shelves. And if we want it now, that means one thing: Uber on-demand delivery.
This is not the first time Fanatics and Uber have made on-demand deliveries related to a major sports event. They also teamed up to deliver food and gameday gear on-demand to Los Angeles Rams fans in September, on the occasion of the National Football League franchise's long-awaited return to the city.
Fanatics and Uber are onto something here, organizing pop-up-like on-demand delivery promotions around highly significant sporting events. To take advantage, these companies need to move quickly. There was a point late in Wednesday night's World Series Game 7 when it looked like the Cleveland Indians could be in line for the title, so the decision makers at both companies probably had to be ready at that point to push the promotion in either city. Fanatics' Orton noted that after the initial delivery program around the Rams opener, both companies knew they would be back for another swing related to a different event, and assuming things went well in Chicago, we can probably expect this on-demand delivery programs to happen more often.
Getting a World Series shirt and hat on-demand is a pretty nice offer, something any true blue Cubs fan would love to have. Although Fanatics and Uber might have done even better to get Cubs fans what they really needed during — not after — Wednesday's thrilling but nerve-wracking Game 7: Aspirin, blood pressure meds, sedatives and the number of a good psychiatrist. As it happened, The Cubs came through and are finally world champs, but we would still like to add one more thing to our on-demand shopping list — champagne.