Mayor Lori Lightfoot joins Chicago sports teams in new ‘We Are Not Playing’ ad campaign to help stop COVID-19

“As far as time-outs go, none are more important to our fans than this one.”


Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot throws out the first pitch before a White Sox game at Guaranteed Rate Field on April 5, 2019. Image: Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune

Chicago Tribune
By Colleen Kane

Mayor Lori Lightfoot is enlisting the help of Chicago’s sports teams to urge residents to stay home as the city works to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Lightfoot held a news conference Monday morning at Soldier Field to launch an ad campaign called “We Are Not Playing” in conjunction with the Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs, Fire, Red Stars, Sky and White Sox.

The campaign will start with digital ads and public billboards and will include social media messages and videos from players encouraging people to comply with the state’s stay-at-home order. It comes on top of Lightfoot’s humorous “Stay Home, Save Lives” public service announcements last week.

“I am grateful to each of our hometown teams for stepping up and doing their part by joining in this call for every neighborhood and community,” Lightfoot said in a release. “They’re not playing, and neither are we. The more we stay home and act responsibly, the more lives we’ll save, and the sooner we’ll be able to get our city back on track and enjoying the games we love.”

A press release on the announcement featured statements by executives from eight of Chicago’s professional sports teams explaining why they were participating.

“I have always said that this is the greatest city in the world, and we all have a crucial role to play to protect the place we are lucky to call home,” Bulls President Michael Reinsdorf said. “Teamwork, looking out for one another and coming together as a community is needed now more than ever. Do your part by staying home to help everyone on the front lines working tirelessly throughout this pandemic to save lives.”

The NBA, NHL and MLS all suspended their seasons, while Major League Baseball, the National Women’s Soccer League and the WNBA have postponed the starts of their seasons. NFL employees currently are preparing for the draft remotely while team facilities are closed.

“As far as time-outs go, none are more important to our fans than this one,” Blackhawks Chairman Rocky Wirtz said. “All of us need to listen to the experts by staying off the field of play and stay at home. We owe that to ourselves, but we especially owe it the people that do not have that stay-at-home option, beginning with our front-line responders. Let’s not make their jobs tougher by ignoring these safeguards or interfering with them.”

Foote, Cone and Belding Chicago developed the ad campaign and provided creative, design and digital work pro bono, according to the release.

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