Several professional and college sports teams are adding Uber to their rosters.
Ever since the on-demand ride service inked its first pro-sports deal, with the NBA’s Sacramento Kings in 2014, Uber has been extending its reach to fans in cities across the country. In August, the NFL’s Miami Dolphins became the first NFL team to integrate Uber into the team’s transportation options for fans.
“Transportation is changing,” Tom Garfinkel, president and CEO of the Dolphins, told Sports Business Daily. “We want to be thinking … what transportation in and out of these events is going to look like not just today but in five years, and this is a big step towards that.”
College teams are getting in on the action, too. The University of New Mexico announced plans earlier this month to offer Uber services to and from University Stadium for all fans.
Fans unwilling to pay parking fees or unable to drive home might be the main winners in these Uber deals. But taxi drivers in Toronto threatened to go on strike during the NBA All-Star Weekend in February, protesting the alleged illegality of UberX, Uber’s low-cost service. In May, Toronto officials agreed to new rules that give the city more regulatory control of Uber.
Athletes take advantage of the ride service, too. During the NFL’s opening weekend, two members of the Buffalo Bills (linebackers Jerry Hughes and Zach Brown) turned to Uber themselves after missing a team bus to Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium for a game against the Ravens.