People from Seattle love their Seahawks and they love their coffee, especially Starbucks coffee. So when Starbucks announced that it would be selling 12 cent coffees as part of a promotion in honor of the nickname the 12th man, given to Seattle fans for their game influencing loudness, it seemed like a pretty great combination of sports and marketing. But, perhaps unsurprisingly, Seattle Seahawks fans are upset with Starbuck’s CEO Howard Shultz’s 12 cent gesture.
To understand why some Seattle fans are upset with Starbucks you must look back a couple of years to 2006 when Seattle still had an NBA team, the Supersonics. Shultz was the owner of the Supersonics and after failing to persuade the city to pay for a new downtown arena, Schultz sold the Supersonics to Oklahoma. More specifically he sold them to Clayton Bennet, an Oklahoma-based businessman who relocated the team to the Midwest.
Back in 2006 Schultz was one of the most hated men in Seattle, if not the most hated. Residents of Seattle blamed him for selling away their beloved Supersonics and for selling away basketball in Seattle. There has not been a replacement team for Seattle to this date. Now that the Seahawks are in the NFC Championship Game, a game being held in Seattle, Schultz wants to make nice with a kind gesture, but not all Seattle fans are buying it.
Schultz’s idea to offer a 12 cent coffee promotion (actually 13 cents after tax) has upset many Seattle Seahawks fans who have taken to twitter to express their disdain for the Starbucks CEO. One fan wrote that the only reason he will go to Starbucks for a coffee is that he believes Starbucks will lose money on that purchase. Just how much a coffee costs Starbucks has not been revealed, but if any fans add a cookie to their order, know you are not hurting Starbucks stock.
“Howard Schultz must be trying to make up for partial responsibility in driving the Sonics out of town!” one fan tweeted. The other part of the blame apparently being on city leaders in Seattle.
“Boycott Starbucks!!! Howard Schultz should be ashamed of himself for profiting on the Seahawks after what he did to [the] Sonics and [this] city,” another angry tweet read.
At best, some Seattle fans did not chastise Schultz but rather used it as another platform to express their dislike of their enemy on Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers. One fan tweeted that while fans in Seahawks colors got coffee for 12 cents, fans in 49ers colors should have to pay 49 dollars for their cup of Joe.
It is unclear exactly how many, if any, 49ers fans there will be on Sunday in Seattle after the team blocked the purchase of any playoff tickets from buyers with a California billing address.
A 12 cent coffee would have been just another reason to smile if you were a Seahawks fan waiting to see your team in the second biggest game on the NFL calendar. But now that they know Howard Schultz and Starbucks are behind the promotion it is leaving a bad taste in the mouths of many upset Seattle fans.
By Nick Manai