Chicago blues fading?
Kaitlyn August ’11 says promoting the Chicago Cubs is a joy, especially with the team atop the standings much of this year.
The Chicago Cubs have been so bad for so long — at least in terms of winning the World Series — that “Wait ’Til Next Year” could be the official team slogan. Not since 1907 and 1908, when they defeated the Detroit Tigers and Hall of Famer Ty Cobb, have the Cubbies won baseball’s grandest prize.
Yet, prior to the 2016 season, what team did Las Vegas odds makers install as the favorite to win the World Series? America’s lovable losers.
As of Aug. 23, the Cubs not only were in first place in the Central Division of the National League, but they had the best record in Major League Baseball with 79 wins and 45 losses.
All of which means there is unprecedented anticipation and excitement where Kaitlyn August ’11 works: the Cubs’ front office.
“This is my fifth full season. The first few seasons, we were in a bit of a rough patch with the play on the field. Going into last season and this season, it’s completely changed,” said August, who plays a key marketing role as the club’s brand activation manager.
“The team is very excited about playing. They have a lot of camaraderie, and I would say our office is very similar. It’s very much a work-hard, play-hard kind of atmosphere, and we all get along. We’re all in it together.”
August uses her strategic communication degree to help keep the bond tight between the Cubs and fans, which extends beyond ensuring they have a great time or collect a cool giveaway at historic Wrigley Field.
The Dayton native oversees initiatives such as the Cubs Kids club and Cubs Destinations, which are travel packages that let fans follow the team and meet players at road games. The aim is to reach all types of people — from the hard-core baseball fanatic to the young child who wants to shake hands with team mascot Clark the Cub.
“Fans are very loyal,” August said. “They love the Cubs and love to be a part of the Cubs any way they can.”
August said the scope of Ohio State’s athletic programs was pivotal in helping her land her job and reach beyond her classroom studies, where she learned marketing tactics to appeal to niche audiences.
“Ohio State is a big stage,” said August, who was an intern for the Big Ten Network helped produce coverage of Buckeye basketball and other sports. “I think it helped ease my mind a little bit that I had been on the big stage before.”
Pat Kindig, director of digital broadcast operations in the Ohio State Department of Athletics, supervised August’s work for the network and said she went from camera operator to directing broadcasts within a year.
August always showed a willingness to learn, sought feedback and inquired about how to move forward, he said. Kindig sees a parallel between the high level Ohio State athletes strive to compete at and the excellence of those who work to promote them.
“Regardless of the sport, you’re still at a certain level,” Kindig said. “All of our sports are striving for the same thing, and that is the utmost of collegiate athletics.”
Now, can the Cubs achieve what’s eluded them for the last 108 years?
Given the team’s history, it wouldn't surprise a Cubs fan to feel a creeping anxiety should they lose a few games in a row. But August said such dread hasn’t permeated the office.
“I know there was kind of a little pressure for the team going into this season, but for the most part, they’ve handled it pretty well, and everyone is just excited.”