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AND NOW, SOME GOOD NEWS: MLB GETS THEIR MARKETING MAN
Published June 12, 1996
Greg Murphy was officially named President & CEO of the newly created entity, Major League Baseball Enterprises. Murphy has worked in consumer marketing for over 20 years and most recently led Kraft Foods Bakery companies. MLB Enterprises is a new division that incorporates MLB Properties and will oversee TV, advertising, PR, licensing, sponsorships and international development (MLB). Acting Commissioner Bud Selig called the structure of MLB Enterprises "radically different than anything baseball has ever had" (Paul Schwartz, N.Y. POST, 6/12). Murphy, on his challenges: "Fans are angry. I think disgusted. In many ways that's great because they really care." Murphy, who experience includes marketing Kool-Aid in '78 after the mass suicides in Jonestown, Guyana, added, "Everyone feels passionately about baseball. Even Marge Schott. The core equity of Kool-Aid and the core equity of baseball are strong" (Richard Sandomir, N.Y. TIMES, 6/12). Murphy: "We need to restore baseball to its proper place in American life" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 6/11). MEDIA REACTION: The announcement was noted covered widely outside the Eastern media. The N.Y. TIMES' Richard Sandomir notes Murphy "lacks sports experience, which did not scare off baseball." He also notes Murphy was "reluctant to reveal his possible strategies" to increase revenue, attendance, TV ratings, and franchise values -- "his four goals" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/12). In Philadelphia, Michael Sokolove writes Murphy's hiring could change the type of candidate MLB will seek as new commissioner. Previously, owners had talked of hiring a person with a marketing background "in the mold" of a Peter Ueberroth. But with Murphy on board, Phillies President Bill Giles said a new commissioner would "more likely" be someone like the late Bart Giamatti (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 6/12). NEWSDAY's Steve Jacobson notes the challenges facing Murphy, who was "glowing" with the appointment. Jacobson: "Let's see his face after he's had a couple of years on the job." But Jacobsen added "it was interesting to see" immediately after his introduction, Murphy was shaking hands and planning a get-together with a Nike official (NEWSDAY, 6/12).