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See the Chicago Cubs’ new ‘Wrigleyville’ City Connect uniforms — and learn the story behind them

See the Chicago Cubs’ new ‘Wrigleyville’ City Connect uniforms — and learn the story behind them

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Joe Pisapia & Matt Striker discuss the upcoming series between the St Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs. 

For more than 18 months, the Chicago Cubs teamed up with Nike to develop and design a unique uniform to highlight the team’s connection to the city and fans.

Their mission centered on weaving the essence of the franchise with the culture and personality of Chicago and Cubs fans. It culminated Tuesday morning with the official reveal of the Cubs’ Nike MLB City Connect uniforms, which will be worn for the first time Saturday at Wrigley Field against the St. Louis Cardinals.

The “Wrigleyville” script across the front of the jersey is shaped the same as the iconic ballpark’s marquee “as a way to really celebrate that Wrigleyville is a place that people from all 77 neighborhoods come to unite over their love of Cubs baseball,” vice president of marketing Lauren Fritts told the Tribune.

Beyond the creation of the City Connect uniform, the Cubs wanted to feature organizations across Chicago to introduce and elevate their work.

Nine local organizations and youth programs were selected and will be highlighted during a Friday home game over the remainder of the season. The spotlight will include a video on the jumbotron featuring their work, as well as amplification on the Cubs’ social media channels. Young Chicago Authors is the first organization that will be recognized.

“For us at the Cubs, we really saw Nike City Connect as much more than just a new jersey launch,” Fritts said. “We really wanted to use it as a platform that would enable us to further our mission to be a good neighbor. As the only team who play in the heart of a neighborhood, we really thought that this would be a cool way to use this platform to unite Chicago, not just the jersey, but by elevating the voices of those who are doing good in their neighborhoods and throughout the city.”

There are pieces of Chicago incorporated throughout the uniform. The patch on the jersey’s left sleeve features Wolf Point — the place where the north, south and main branches of the Chicago River all meet. The Y-shaped image is embedded within the Chicago municipal device, a century-old symbol that can be found on buildings in the city, while the four six-pointed red stars represent the Chicago flag.

“During the design process, we were looking a lot at (the municipal device) because it’s one of those things that once you know what it is, you realize it’s all over Chicago,” Fritts said. “It’s inspired by that and something that we think most Chicagoans, especially, recognize.”

The cap also pays homage to the city’s flag with another star centered within the Cubs “C.” The flag’s colors influenced the uniform’s color palette, too. Near the bottom of the jersey, “Respect Our Neighborhood” is stitched above the size tag, a callback to the signs fans see as they exit Wrigley.

The Cubs’ City Connect collection will also feature the names of all 77 neighborhoods, with Lakeview, the team’s home neighborhood, appearing in red.

“We love the way that they collectively tell the story of the 77,” Fritts said.

The Cubs are one of seven Major League Baseball teams chosen for Nike’s City Connect Series in the inaugural year, an initiative to explore a franchise’s relationship to its city and fan base through culture, values and tradition. The Boston Red Sox, Miami Marlins and Chicago White Sox have worn their City Connect uniforms this season, with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants still to come.

While the White Sox opted for “Southside” across their jersey, the Cubs didn’t consider using “North Side” on theirs.

“The reality is to us we know we have fans beyond the North Side, so we just felt like there was a bigger opportunity here to make this about the city,” Fritts said. “That was never really something we ever debated. To us, we always wanted this to be a celebration of all 77 neighborhoods and the city of Chicago.”

During the year-and-a-half process to bring the Cubs’ City Connect uniforms to fruition, a core group of about eight to 10 people in the Cubs marketing department worked with a set of Nike designers and people from Nike’s baseball division. Fritts said the conversations with Nike centered on what they felt was most authentic to the Cubs.

“Knowing that we are the only ballpark in a neighborhood in a city of neighborhoods, we felt like that idea of neighborhood was so important to elevate especially because it ties back to our core value at the Cubs to be a good neighbor,” Fritts said. “It was all so obvious to us the way to most authentically kind of bring this to life and we’re excited with more of the storytelling elements behind it.”

The Cubs have not yet determined how often they will wear their City Connect uniforms beyond Saturday’s debut.

“The cool thing about it is that Nike reaches the next generation of fans so well, so that’s why we wanted to make this more than just a jersey launch,” Fritts said. “We wanted it to be a platform because we think that together with Nike, we can both tell an authentic story to our existing fans but also really reach the next generation of fan and help them understand what it is that makes the Cubs authentic and makes the Cubs Chicago’s team.”


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