Supporting Opposing Teams: A Lesson on What NOT to Do

hen a company is supporting opposing teams in an important game because they are both based in metropolitan areas where an airline has a major presence in the airports which serve them, the situation could cause the company to find itself in a public relations snafu which could be a lesson of what not to do.

Consider the example of Delta Air Lines, which not only operates hub airports which serve both the Seattle and Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan areas where the Seattle Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings are respectively based; but is also the official airline of both the Seattle Seahawks and the Minnesota Vikings.

The following message was “tweeted” from Delta Air Lines in clear support of the Seattle Seahawks, who play the Minnesota Vikings in one of the two wild card playoff games of the National Football Conference of the National Football League in the early afternoon of Sunday, January 10, 2016:

This caused one man who calls himself Pedro Munoz — purportedly no relation to Oscar Munoz, who is the chief executive officer of United Airlines — to respond that he is upset with Delta Air Lines; and as a result, is “going to book all of my company’s business trips with other airlines.”

Pedro Munoz is not the only person threatening to patronize airlines other than Delta Air Lines. Charlie Rybak wrote that he “Just cancelled 13 flights I have booked for next month and rebooked with” Sun Country Airlines. “This is real. I am a businessman.”

He later admitted that he was kidding.

Public Relations Cleanup Towards Political Correctness?

To mitigate this “backlash”, the following message — admittedly more neutral — that “We’re a house divided” was “tweeted” from Delta Air Lines:

The Investment of Delta Air Lines in Professional Sports Teams

This news release from the Seattle Seahawks announced on Wednesday, October 21, 2015 the extension of a multi-year partnership extension with Delta Air Lines as the official airline of the team; while this news release from the Minnesota Vikings announced on Tuesday, December 1, 2015 that Delta Air Lines will be the official airline of the team through the year 2021.

As I reported in this article back on Wednesday, October 14, 2015 pertaining to the extension of the partnership between Delta Air Lines and both the New York Yankees and New York Mets, Delta Air Lines is also the official airline of the following professional sports teams and venues:

  • Atlanta Braves
  • Minnesota Twins
  • Detroit Tigers
  • New York Yankees
  • New York Mets
  • New York Knicks
  • New York Rangers
  • Pittsburgh Pirates
  • Cincinnati Reds
  • San Diego Padres
  • Saint Louis Rams
  • Saint Louis Cardinals
  • Buffalo Sabres
  • Utah Jazz
  • Los Angeles Lakers
  • Los Angeles Kings
  • Seattle Sounders
  • Chelsea Football Club
  • Syracuse University Athletics
  • Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
  • Staples Center
  • Yankee Stadium
  • Citi Field
  • Madison Square Garden; as well as all of its entities

The High Price of Those Investments in Professional Sports Teams

As to what I alluded in this recent article, professional sports is big business which continues to get more and more expensive, as the minimum amount being paid to the New York Yankees alone for the contract extension is eight million dollars — although the undisclosed figure could be as much as $72 million dollars solely for that team…

…and yet taxpayers are still asked to foot the bill for the construction of new stadiums.

The actual figures for what Delta Air Lines pays for its partnerships with the aforementioned sports teams and venues remains undisclosed; but I would not be surprised if the numbers were in the nine digit range. That’s right — hundreds of millions of dollars.

Summary

I suppose it is easy for me to say this as a person who is not a sports fanatic; but I believe that people should vote with their wallets to halt the continuous aggrandizing of professional sports. While I believe that sports are indeed an important pastime which promotes teamwork and encourages competitiveness, I never quite understood the penchant to root for a team simply because its name sports the name of the city, state or region it purportedly represents — despite the fact that few to no members of the team actually were born and raised in the area of which the team represents. In fact, there is a good chance that a player on the team may not even be from the United States…

…and whether a team wins or loses, you are not really affected anyway; nor does anyone associated with the team really care about you anyway — other than the money which they hope to draw from you, of course. Not me, though. I never have and never will financially support multi-million dollar contracts and deals.

Not supporting the huge payrolls of professional sports does not mean the elimination of being a spectator at sporting events. There are plenty of minor league, college and amateur games of all sports which can be watched for little cost — or even free of charge.

Better yet: if you have some time, get involved and be a part of a team in a sport yourself — and have fun doing it.

One thought on “Supporting Opposing Teams: A Lesson on What NOT to Do”

  1. Ryan says:

    I’m not much of a sports fan, either, and don’t quite understand people getting so upset over a team or an airline tweet.

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