CHICAGO – The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) today announced a new multifaceted marketing campaign to encourage Chicago sports fans and others to "Join the Team" by getting their COVID-19 vaccine.
"One of the most exciting parts about our city beginning to reopen is being able to safely bring sports fans back into the stands to cheer on our teams," said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. "This campaign will not only encourage even more of our residents to get their vaccine, but also bring us closer together as one home team as we continue our fight against COVID-19. It is my hope and expectation that our residents, especially those who love sports, take this as their sign to get vaccinated so we can all get back to beloved Chicago pastimes."
Teaming up with the Chicago Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs, Fire, Red Stars, Sky, and White Sox – this campaign centers around the influence of sports teams, their players and mascots to unify people across the city and join the growing number of Chicagoans who have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
"Chicago's sports franchises are such a big part of our city's identity, and they give us all a sense of pride," said CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D. "We're so proud to have support from all eight teams to help educate residents about the COVID-19 vaccine and encourage them to take their shot."
Kicking off today, this campaign will utilize digital and out-of-home billboards around Chicago, social media channels and additional supporting elements to share information about COVID-19 vaccines and connect residents to locations where they are available.
"With adults across the country now eligible for the vaccine, we strongly encourage all Chicagoans to get vaccinated as soon as possible," said Chicago Bears Chairman George H. McCaskey. "Words can't fully express how much we are looking forward to safely welcoming Bears fans back to Soldier Field this season. The vaccine is our ticket to making that happen, so join the team and Bear Down!"
Due to improvement in reopening metrics and the ongoing distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine – two million doses administered in the city and counting – the City of Chicago entered the Chicago Bridge Phase on Friday, May 14. This allows for an extensive expansion of capacity limits across industries, including large indoor venues to operate at 60 percent capacity.
"The Chicago Blackhawks have been proud to come together with our fellow sports teams to offer our platform for important health and safety messages since the beginning of the pandemic," said Rocky Wirtz, Chairman of the Chicago Blackhawks. "As part of the United Center Joint Venture, we currently share our home with the mass vaccination site on our campus and see thousands of individuals each day who are doing their part to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. We encourage our fans to ‘Join the Team' and follow the vaccination guidance provided by public health officials to get us back to living, working and playing together."
"The Bulls are proud to join with the City of Chicago and our fellow professional sports teams to share important messages and information about the COVID-19 vaccine," said Michael Reinsdorf, Bulls President & COO. "This campaign will help our community learn how they can take vital steps that will help all of us get back to doing so many of the things we love – and seeing the people we love – and have missed over the last year."
Under the Chicago Bridge Phase, outdoor venues like Guaranteed Rate Field and Wrigley Field increase their attendance capacity from 25 percent to 60 percent – so even more Chicagoans can enjoy a day at the ballpark. Guaranteed Rate Field will increase capacity beginning May 24. Wrigley Field will increase capacity beginning May 28.
"We understand the importance of teamwork, and the White Sox hope adding our voice to this Chicago sports campaign helps deliver the message to fans everywhere about the importance of getting vaccinated," said Jerry Reinsdorf, Chicago Bulls and White Sox chairman. "We look forward to welcoming more and more fans to watch White Sox baseball in person at our ballpark this summer and getting vaccinated is an important step toward that goal."
"We all play an important role in ending this pandemic," said Chicago Cubs Executive Chairman Tom Ricketts. "The Cubs support the City of Chicago's efforts in encouraging all Chicagoans to get vaccinated if they are eligible. That's why we are proud to host a vaccination center at Gallagher Way in partnership with the City of Chicago and Advocate Aurora Health. Let's all get vaccinated to keep each other safe."
Getting vaccinated helps reduce the spread of the disease and protects Chicagoans from getting seriously sick with COVID-19 – and protects their families, friends, and community. The recent expansion of the vaccine eligibility for youth age 12 to 15 means families can again safely create memories at sporting events. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and is available at locations across the city. Find vaccines at ZocDoc.com/vaccine or by calling 312-746-4835.
"It has been an honor for our Club to partner with the City of Chicago and our fellow sports teams in sharing important COVID-19-related messaging to our loyal and supportive fans," said Chicago Fire FC Owner and Chairman Joe Mansueto. "In Illinois, many of the retail pharmacies are now accepting walk-ins without an appointment. Fans can call their local pharmacy ahead of time to ensure they have enough supply on hand. Getting vaccinated is more accessible and convenient than ever before. We are excited that our season has kicked off and we'd like to invite all of Chicago to join us on the lakefront for a game at Soldier Field."
"Beating COVID-19 is truly a team effort – and you don't have to be a professional athlete to contribute," said Chairman and Principal Owner of the Chicago Red Stars, Arnim Whisler. "This city has made so much progress in the fight against the pandemic. Do your part. Find a COVID-19 vaccine site near you and help us bring home the win."
"We're proud to join teams across Chicago in encouraging fans to get their COVID-19 vaccine," said Michael Alter, owner, Chicago Sky. "As we kick off the 2021 season, we are excited to welcome fans back to cheer on the Sky – and know that vaccine is a big part of making that happen."
Vaccinations are offered at no cost. City-operated vaccination sites offering Pfizer are available to individuals 12 and older – with or without an appointment. For the latest information on Chicago's COVID-19 vaccine strategy, visit www.chicago.gov/covidvax.