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A Cubs-focused sports retailer halts online orders after demand surges

October 26, 2016 04:35 PM
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If there were scorers in e-commerce as there are in Major League Baseball, retailer Sports World Chicago would be charged with an error.

A spike in demand caused by the Chicago Cubs winning their first National League championship in 71 years has prompted the retailer to stop taking online orders for the foreseeable future.

Sports World Chicago, No. 993 in the 2016 Internet Retailer U.S. Top 1,000, wrote on its website that it has stopped taking online orders because it simply cannot keep up with demand. The retailer is located across from the main entrance to Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs, who have not won a World Series since 1908. Sports World Chicago’s site did not crash and can still be browsed, but shoppers cannot add goods to a cart.

Here’s the message that greets visitors to its site, SportsWorldChicago.com:

“Hey Cubs Fans, Unfortunately, due to the overwhelming number of orders on our website since the Cubs won the 2016 National League Pennant, we are temporarily NOT taking orders. No we're not closing, we're just catching up. We knew there were Cubs fans all over the world, but didn't realize there were this many! We thank all our clients and fans for their support, and will be answering e-mails and phone calls over the next few days. Good Luck Cubbies, and PLEASE, WIN it all!”

It’s hard to imagine a worse time to shut down access to the millions of Cubs fans across the country and beyond.

In a posting on its Facebook page on Monday, Sports World says the surge in demand started after the Cubs clinched the pennant Saturday night by beating the Dodgers 5-0 at Wrigley Field. The retailer says on Facebook its site is temporarily in “maintenance mode,” but did not explain what that means. 

Sports World owner Brad Rosen says the company did six figures in online sales in a 24-hour span.

"It's unreal, plus we need to attend to our store," he says. "(We're) not staffed up for that level of internet service, and we're still a pretty big business."

Sports World Chicago’s store is directly across the street from the Wrigley Field marquee, and is glimpsed in many a TV camera shot of the ballpark, which may explain why online shoppers are seeking out its site for Cubs gear. According to data from digital analytics firm SimilarWeb, SportsWorldChicago.com saw a dramatic spike in traffic on Saturday, the day the Cubs clinched the pennant.

Typically, SportsWorldChicago.com registers fewer than 5,000 visitors per day, but on the peak days, web traffic was about 7,500 visits.

Other retailers with a location near Wrigley Field aren’t turning away online business. Wrigleyville Sports, which is located across the street from Wrigley Field, and Clark Street Sports, which has a store less than half a mile from the ballpark, both continue to take online orders. Owners of those shops could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

 

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