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BASEBALL BACK IN BUSINESS: "PLAY BALL!" CAMPAIGN ON THE WAY
Published April 11, 1995
According to several team execs, a national TV, radio and outdoor campaign by Partners & Shevack, New York, "is awaiting final approval from a league committee charged with creating an integrated marketing effort to launch the season." The campaign, which will "resemble" the NHL's "Game On," will have the tagline, "Let's play ball." The upcoming ads "are said to be conciliatory but fall short of apologizing to fans." MLB will develop a separate "Play ball!" logo and is looking into licensing "Play ball!" merchandise (Jeff Jensen, ADVERTISING AGE, 4/10 issue). MILLER SPEAKS OUT: Former MLBPA head Marvin Miller was critical of his successor's decision to agree to a form of a salary tax. While MLBPA Exec Dir Don Fehr consults with Miller, he did not inform him of his salary tax proposal until after it was on the table. Miller, from an interview with the Toronto GLOBE & MAIL: "I was shocked when I heard Don proposed that. I would never have proposed that -- not in a million years. I think Don and the players will live to regret that one. ... It was plain appeasement." Miller also referred to mediator William Usery as "stupid"; said President Clinton had "no business sticking his nose in"; called the baseball media "lazy" and "management-oriented"; and acknowledged that the players have serious image problems (Marty York, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 4/11). BROADCAST NEWS: With 2nd quarter ad dollars gone and the 3rd quarter "already very tight," broadcasters "will find it difficult to lure advertisers back to baseball. ... Many local and regional broadcasters say the best they can hope for is a 75% sellout" (Jeff Jensen, AD AGE, 4/10). Phillies President Bill Giles, who predicts a $200-400M loss this year, said a better TV deal is one way to recoup those losses. The Baseball Network has another year remaining, but CBS and Fox are interested in the next round of bidding. And Giles is working on an all-baseball cable network, The Baseball Channel. Giles: "In the long run, there's definite growth in television. I'm not so sure about the short-term -- this year and next year. But by the year 1999 or 2000, I think we'll be in good shape there" (Jayson Stark, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 4/11). RICH TEAM, POOR TEAM: ABC's Bob Jamieson reported on the Expos and Braves, and the difference between the small-and big- market teams ("World News Tonight," ABC, 4/10).