SBD/21/Sponsorships Advertising Marketing

TEXACO CUTTING BACK ITS PARTICIPATION IN MLB ALL-STAR GAME

     While Texaco will again sponsor fan ballots for the MLB All-
Star Game, the company will not actively participate in pushing
the vote.  Last year, Texaco used its service stations as an
outlet for fans to vote.  This year, fan voting will strictly be
conducted in the ballparks.  AP's Skip Wollenberg writes, "Texaco
faces a dilemma shared by dozens of companies that rely on major
league baseball games as a way to advertise their products and
services."  Companies like Texaco, a charter sponsor of The
Baseball Network, have a while before deciding on their strategy,
because the first TBN broadcast is not until the All-Star Game.
But other advertisers must decide more quickly.  ESPN Exec VP Ed
Durso, whose network carries its first game April 2:  "I'd be
less than candid to say demand was as robust as we had hoped it
would be.  Some are directing their money elsewhere, but we
continue to press ahead under what is a more difficult
situation."  But Tribune Broadcasting Exec VP Dennis FitzSimons
said, "We have been pleasantly surprised by the willingness of
our sponsors to stay with us."  The Tribune Co. also owns the
Cubs (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 2/20).
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Chicago Cubs, ESPN, MLB, Walt Disney

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