Let’s talk about Chance The Rapper. Remember that guy?
He’s hella popular with the kids, not so popular with our governor, an all around seemingly awesome guy with a huge heart. Seems like he uses his powers for good, which is refreshing as the state of popular rap music seems to be trending down. Fuck. That makes me sound old, but alas, it is what it is.
Why are we talking about Chance? Well, I still feed the trolls from time to time over on Reddit and a discussion came up that started about how Brooks Boyer needed to start marketing this team better. We can talk about that at a later date, but Chance came up in the convo and specifically, the wiff from the White Sox. I am all about calling out the Sox when something that was done was a bad move, but I have a hard time faulting the White Sox for not going all FB Official with our main man Chance. Have no idea what I am talking about? Watch this.
I want to clarify my position before we begin this discussion. I like Chance. I like what he is doing for the City of Chicago, specifically the kids in school. I love that he used to rock and rep the Sox cap ALL THE TIME. A black Sox cap is true hip-hop classic, for sure speaks volumes about the guy wearing it. I liked the idea of having a non-baseball player as an ambassador for the team. So I get why it would have worked well, especially in hindsight, but I can fully see why the Sox never pulled the trigger. Let’s go over some things.
The Winter Hat Incident.
Seems like all this talk was going down in 2015. Sox let him toss a first pitch. Let him do a voiceover on an opening day video. They collaborated with New Era on some sweet hats. Seemed like they had a good relationship. Sox flirt with the idea of making him an ambassador, then this shit happens (Disclaimer – I don’t know the timing of any of these talks. Shit could have been dead in the water by this time. But for my story purposes this was done right at the same time) –
Oddly the Cubs hat is the second most disturbing thing in this pic, cause the chubby-bad hair Michael Kopech look-a-like is right behind him and the fact that they are at a PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS GAME. Who the fuck goes there? Ugh.
Can you imagine the firestorm that would rain down in Twitter-verse had this happened after they became FB Official? Dear God. I can only imagine the outpour of love and understanding from our north neighbors.
So this was a lapse of judgement by Chance, it alone, was a big deal in some circles of Sox fans. And this was just a HAT. Sox fans are crazy passionate and very protective of the team and people that represent the team. Don’t believe me? We still love about every player that ever played for the team, hell, most of us still defend Gordon Beckham because he “had a great glove”. Very Engel-like. So this is a major no-no. Sox fans do take it serious, sad (sometimes) but true.
If you ran the White Sox would you have taken a chance on Chance? I think that I would have, but I don’t have much to lose. But it’s a risk when you have a VERY FUCKING VALUABLE company. Let’s take a look at a few more things.
The White Sox have image problems as it is. Location. Ligues’. Location. The location part isn’t even true as if Bridgeport is the hood, sheeeeeeeeee-it, pay my mortgage. While rap has been around forever, it still isn’t that respected by the mass populous. Which is fantastic. The yutes love it, I love it, but my dad would rather listen to a guy with a harmonica with a guitar.
And who is the fanbase that spends money? A VOCAL fanbase that misses the AC/DC intro. Ye old Pirates of the Caribbean intro. The diamond Sox patch on the road unis. You think they’d be forward thinking enough to welcome Chance in with open arms? Some would no doubt, but most of the hard core season ticket base wouldn’t IMO. I could be way off, but I think I am closer than some would like to admit.
If you are picking a non-athlete to be an ambassador/spokesperson, you need to vet the shit out of that person. In this day and age of people jumping in on causes (especially when that support just requires a retweet) people are quick to take sides. There have been many cases when a public person has supported a person/cause online that turns out to be something other than what was represented. Conversely in this day and age people forget quickly, but if you run a huge organization that sells tickets based on perception, do you wanna risk a slight bump that might turn some people off? Especially when you have some problems selling tix? In two words- HELL NAH.
Example, I love fellow Big-Headed fan and 108 OG @ClassyTom24 from Rockford. He’s got a great wife, kick ass dog, a new house with bar and seems like a very nice guy. But I am not gonna hand him the electronic pulpit for the 108 and allow his actions to speak for us. AND WE ARE WORTH NOTHING (as the 108, in our personal life it’s Crystal and Caviar). @ClassyTom24 could lose his shit and start talking about how much he loves Bud Light and Cubbie blue. Or Joe’s On Weed. The fucking Cubby Bear! Who knows? His values might not line up with what we want to represent here at the 108. Which takes us to our next step.
I think the real details came down to money. Chance is a smart (and generous) guy, but I am sure he is watching his bottom line. He (rightfully so) would want some type of compensation for his repping the brand and doing things for the team. Yes, he would bring in some dollars (more than what he would be paid I am guessing) but I wonder what that percentage is across the board. Like, his sales or whatever would be in the single percentages of the total, hell maybe a fraction. Financially, it would be beneficial. But having a few extra dollars when you have a pile worth the risk?
Continuing with the @ClassyTom24 example, we’d love to have the lock on all White Sox fans from Rockford. I am sure between him and @pitsshady would could lock them down no problem. But what happens if one of them goes off the edge? Maybe after one too many Christmas Bliss’ one of them decides they wanna go streaking at a pre-school graduation. We could really find some humor in that, but maybe the fine folks in Rockford would look down on it. Maybe they don’t like drunk people running naked around pre-schoolers. Then as stories seem to travel on the internet, by noon we are pedophiles in the 108. No one will ever buy one of our sweet Slay-108’er shirts.
Point being, the less people you have that speak for your brand the better. The more money you make equals more risk. You wanna hedge that with as little risk as possible. It’s really that simple.
Tweet at me what you think about this! We’d (I’d) love to discuss it.