Chance the Rapper will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the White Sox home opener Friday, but that’s not where the artist’s relationship ends with his favorite team.
The West Chatham native, who introduced a new line of Sox hats this week, is expected to engage in a much more prominent relationship with the franchise as a team ambassador, a move that’s being hailed as a stroke of marketing brilliance for a franchise seeking to align itself with a younger audience.
“We hope that his involvement with us connects him to incremental fans for him and, at the same time, connects us with the next or now generation of White Sox fans,’’ said Brooks Boyer, Sox vice president for sales and marketing. “It’s a win-win for everyone.’’
Chance the Rapper, 22, has always been something of an unofficial Sox envoy, wearing team hats in public and on stage. He wore one when he performed on “Saturday Night Live” in December. His three limited-edition caps, which he redesigned exclusively with New Era, will be available for purchase at 11 a.m. Friday.
The artist who grew up on 79thst Street near the Red Line exit narrated a new the Sox’ new introductory video that will be played on their video screen: “There’s only black and white. From High Park to Park Ridge, we wear our hearts on our pinstripe jerseys.”
“Our goal was to connect the people of Chicago, their work ethic and values, to our rich history, our connection with the city and our fans,’’ Boyer said. “We wanted a fresh, young voice to deliver the message, and Chance was happy to step in. He is a very talented guy.
“Chance is a busy guy. Recording, touring, acting, and the like leaves little time for much else. But, he definitely is a Sox fan and has an open invitation to be around the ballpark any time his schedule allows.‘’
The 9FIFTY snap backs caps are priced at $40-45 at the Chicago Sports Depot and New Era Cap Corner at the White Sox ballpark in Chicago, New Era Cap stores and online at ShopNewEraCap.com and Shop.MLB.com.