The relationship between cigars and sports was first introduced to the public more than 25 years ago when a national sports magazine featured a variety of advertisements on sports-related cigar boxes drawn from the National Cigar History Museum collection.
Increasingly in the decades that followed, prominent athletes began making public claims that correlated positive sportsmanship and winning titles to smoking cigars and cigarettes. This attracted tobacco companies like Philies to market products including their “Miracle Mild” cigars for the full range of sports fanatics: young, old, major league stars, and college basketball players alike; examples of this can be found in numerous Phillies advertisements that playoff of the 1960’s baseball culture. One of their advertisements strategically position “Miracle Milds” alongside statistics showing the top batting scores of the National League, suggesting a correlation between the nation’s top players and their cigar product. Furthermore, Phillies prided itself on being “America’s No. 1” for “Year ‘Round Sports Programs,” riding on the backs of popular news channels to elevate their message (e.g. National Broadcasting Company – NBC).
Cigar companies used celebrity endorsements to promote their products. Michael Jordan, arguably the biggest star in basketball history, was pictured with a cigar in hand on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1993. Similarly, former NBA Coach Red Auerbach, the powerful figure who guided the Boston Celtics to a nine out of ten championship win between 1949 and 1966, practiced a very public habit of smoking a cigar after each winning game that this image eventually evolved into a symbol of victory in the history of sports. Brands such as Te-amo in the past invited their fans to celebrate athletes’ victories with even a special free cigar offer (i.e. Dana Quigley’s 2001 SBC Senior Open and Te-Amo Cabinet Selection Cigar.