Chicago Cubs set to dominate headlines while All Blacks are in town

By Alex McLeod

Pitcher Kyle Hendricks and his Chicago Cubs teammates could make it difficult for the All Blacks to make headlines during their stay in the USA. Photo / Photosport
Pitcher Kyle Hendricks and his Chicago Cubs teammates could make it difficult for the All Blacks to make headlines during their stay in the USA. Photo / Photosport

With Major League Baseball in the USA reaching it's climax for the 2016 season, the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians are preparing to face off against one another in the World Series.

The two sides will be looking to break long title droughts, with the Indians having not won a title since 1948, while the Cubs will be looking for their first title in 108 years.

The latter of the two sides, based at Wrigley Field, will be expected to dominate headlines in the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois throughout the entirety of the World Series, as would be expected for a side which is competing in its first World Series since 1945.

Media hype in the region is currently in full swing, with local news outlet the Chicago Tribune currently featuring a story titled 'Cubs advance to World Series' as their leading story on the website's homepage.

With this much hype surrounding the two-time champion franchise, it could be difficult for the touring All Blacks side to gain much traction and publicity during their week-long stay in Chicago as part of the end-of-year tour.

The World Series are set to last between 25 October and 2 November, if the series is taken to a Game Seven, which would conclude half a week before the All Blacks take on Ireland at the 61,500-capacity Soldier Field in the first match of their tour to the USA and Europe.

The Cubs are scheduled to host Games Three, Four and Five of the series, where the series would be beginning to peak, meaning more media coverage, more hype and rising viewing figures in Chicago and the United States.

During that time period would be roughly when the All Blacks, who took on the USA Eagles in front of a sold out crowd at the same venue in 2014, dot down in Chicago to prepare for their test against the Irish, before playing them on November 6.

If the Cubs come away with a historic title within the next week, the task of exposing and expanding the All Blacks' brand in Chicago and the United States will be made more difficult, with the key reason for hosting an All Blacks test in the United States being for both financial and brand exposure purposes.

Other highly popular sports in the region could also restrict the amount of attention Steve Hansen's side receives in the States.

The city's NHL side, the Chicago Blackhawks, face off against the Dallas Stars on the day of the All Blacks' test against Ireland, while also hosting three games in the week leading up to the test.

Interest in the NBA will also be high with the 2016-17 season being just a few days old, and the Chicago Bulls will also be playing three games during the week of the test.

Fortunately for the New Zealanders, Soldier Field has already sold out for the match like it did the last time the three-time world champions played there, meaning the All Blacks won't need to drive ticket sales on their day off.

The All Blacks then travel to more familiar territory following the Ireland clash in Chicago, facing of against Italy, Ireland - again - and France in Rome, Dublin and Paris in the following weeks.

- NZ Herald

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