Cubs go retro, paint marquee '30s-era green

The Wrigley Field marquee goes from red to green on Wednesday morning. Jon Greenberg/ESPN

CHICAGO -- In their eternal search for sponsorship dollars, the Chicago Cubs have done the impossible: They marketed watching paint dry.

No, they haven't found a sponsor for the Cubs' offense.

As part of the season-long 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field, the Cubs and new sponsor Benjamin Moore held an event at Wrigley's famous red marquee Wednesday morning. At the event, painters turned the marquee green.

The marquee paint was chipped away to find the old green color from the mid-1930s, and Benjamin Moore used a handheld spectrophotometer to match that green to its own "mallard green" color.

The sign would take only "three or four gallons" of paint, said Jerry Dean, the director of sales for Benjamin Moore, and would be repainted after the homestand with a premium red outdoor paint.

The Cubs are celebrating the 1930s on this homestand. On May 16, the Cubs will give away a Babe Ruth called-shot bobblehead to commemorate the 1932 World Series. Ruth's 97-year-old daughter, Julia Ruth Stevens, will throw out the first pitch and sing the seventh-inning stretch.

The Cubs advertised the painting event, which included a small mural fans could paint, as a way to "activate" the recently signed five-year sponsorship deal with Benjamin Moore, which is headquartered in downtown Chicago.

The team advertised free T-shirts to the first 1,000 fans who walked by the painting ceremony, though they might have some extras since the team is out of town.

When the first touch of green paint went up just after 9:30 a.m., the crowd consisted mostly of Cubs front-office employees on a coffee break and mascot Clark the Cub, who did some light capering with pedestrians.

Cubs vice president of sales and partnerships Colin Faulkner called the deal "significant," and it certainly is for Benjamin Moore. The Cubs will use the company's paint during the planned $350 million-plus renovation of the ballpark. That's a lot of green for everyone once the long-delayed project actually begins.

Benjamin Moore is one of a handful of local sponsors, including Weber and Giordano's Pizza, that have recently signed deals with the Cubs, who are on pace for another 100-loss season to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Wrigley.

"We're trying to find brands that really make sense and have a story to tell," Faulkner said. "Benjamin Moore certainly has a story to tell with the restoration of the stadium and their products."