SBD/Issue 129/Sports Media

MLB Network Attracting Interest From Variety Of Advertisers

Media buyers "seem to agree" that MLB Network is "becoming a successful player in the television sports marketplace," according to John Consoli of the N.Y. TIMES. MLB Net execs said that the net is "on target to meet its first-quarter ad revenue projections, with major advertisers like Sprint, IBM, Kraft, Domino's Pizza, Geico, Progressive, Sony PlayStation, 2K Sports and Viagra, among others, already on the air." And "none of them are among the 18 official MLB sponsors, who, at some point this year, also are expected to jump in with varying amounts of advertising-dollar support." MediaVest Senior VP & Dir of Video Investment & Activation Christine Merrifield said of the net, "It's lean and its staff can put deals together very quickly and creatively. And it is getting good traction not only from sports advertisers but from some nontraditional sports advertisers." MLB Net Exec VP/Advertising Sales Bill Morningstar said that he is "in discussions with a number of advertisers in a range of categories, including beer companies, fast-food restaurants, banks and credit card companies, movies and pharmaceuticals." Morningstar: "Our motto has been to try to do a deal a day, bringing in a steady stream of advertisers in small increments of dollars. We're telling advertisers to give us a little money and grow with us." Optimedia Exec VP & Dir of National Electronic Media Larry Novenstern said the net is a "very good alternative for us to put some seed money down for clients and to see how the audience grows." Novenstern: "What they need to be doing is looking outside the box, and they are." Novenstern noted that Denny's, which is "looking to further invest in TV sports, is interested" in advertising on the net (N.Y. TIMES, 3/24).

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