SBD/31/Sponsorships Advertising Marketing

WILL MLBPA'S PACIFIC TRADING CARD DEAL RAISE THE IRE OF MLB?

          The MLBPA "threw a high, hard one" at MLB, as it
     granted Pacific Trading Cards an MLBPA license, putting MLB
     in "an awkward position" which "could escalate tensions
     between the licensing sides" of the league and the MLBPA,
     according to Terry Lefton of BRANDWEEK.  The deal comes "at
     a time when they have at least paid lip service toward
     working together for more synergistic marketing deals."  MLB
     now "must either capitulate to the [MLBPA], granting a
     license ... or refuse and risk a resumption of hostilities." 
     One senior card industry exec said, "They were going to work
     together and now the [MLBPA] is jamming this down their
     throats."  Pinnacle Brands Chair Jerry Meyer, noting the
     number of card licensees: "I'm at a loss as to why anyone
     would allow another company in considering the health of the
     category."  Lefton reports that industry estimates put the
     deal at "close to" $4M, and "[m]any in the industry
     interpreted the [MLBPA]'s move as a sign that it is strapped
     for cash," a notion "rejected" by MLBPA Dir of Marketing
     Judy Heeter.  Lefton writes of "two larger issues" in this
     case: the risk of "oversaturating an already oversaturated
     category, perhaps killing it and driving one or more of the
     licensees ... out of business," and "whether the two sides
     will ever be able to work together" (BRANDWEEK, 3/30 issue).

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