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SELLING BASEBALL'S RE- ENTRY: MLB COMMITTEE HEADED BY BROCHU
Published April 4, 1995
MLB has set up an internal committee to create an "integrated marketing effort, akin to the NHL's 'Game On' program." The committee has yet to announce its plans, but it is "expected the tagline" of the campaign will be "Play Ball!," according to this week's ADVERTISING AGE. The committee reportedly consists of top executives from sponsorship, licensing, broadcast and promotions (AD AGE, 4/3 issue). MLB spokesperson Jim Small told THE SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY the committee "has been in place for a little bit." Small said Expos Owner Claude Brochu is heading up the committee, and that there are no immediate plans for an announcement of the committee's progress or plans. Efforts to reach Brochu yesterday were unsuccessful (THE DAILY). In New York, Stuart Elliott writes, "Advertisers, teams and the sport itself face a daunting task in trying to restore baseball's luster" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/4). ESPN's Peter Gammons: "Who in the world wants to be associated with baseball? If you are an advertiser, what is your image? Walking out on the World Series? No thanks" ("SportsCenter," 4/3). IN THE FRONT OFFICES: In the Bay Area, David Li writes, "Don't expect the usual preseason hype that aggressively sells baseball teams and star players." Bill Hoffman, who will oversee the A's marketing campaign: "I don't foresee hard-sell advertising. What we have to do is get back to the message that baseball is fun, without being preachy." Giants VP/Business Ops Pat Gallager, whose team has run ads in the past that have emphasized the team's storied history: "We might do something even more basic than that. We can't assume fans even know who's on the team and who's in our division. We got to remind people even of that" (David Li, OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 4/4). ADVICE: In Philadelphia, Dave Caldwell examines different things baseball can do to boost its image. Nye Lavalle, President of Lavalle Sports Marketing, suggests a summit at which players and owners could suggest ways to improve the game "without any risk of that summit turning into an angry confrontation": "Baseball is the only major sport that people can afford to go to -- that's its value." Caldwell noted that every "expert" interviewed said that the "temporary cease-fire agreed to by the players and owners might put the product back on the field in three weeks but probably would not be good for the game if a settlement is not reached. And quietly" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 4/4).