SBD/October 23, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

MLB Partners Prep For Start Of World Series; Tigers Merchandise On The Rise

Tigers merchandise becoming hot commodity as team continues playoff run
MLB business partners are prepping for the World Series, which opens in S.F. tomorrow night. On the licensing side of the house, recent statistics from licensed sports e-commerce leader Fanatics.com show sales of Tigers licensed merchandise are spiking. Since the start of the MLB Playoffs through Oct. 21, the Tigers are the best-selling MLB team on Fanatics.com and have the two top-selling jerseys: P Justin Verlander’s No. 35 and 3B Miguel Cabrera’s No. 24. The Tigers also topped all MLB teams on Fanatics.com last week and have the highest percentage increase last week compared to the previous week (+320%). Jim Pisani, who heads VF Corp's Licensed Sports Corp., said demand has been surging throughout the postseason, both for generic World Series apparel and team-specific garb. "Our if-win orders look relatively equal for either side," said Pisani, whose company again has championship locker room T-shirt rights. "But there are still things we haven't begun to leverage, like a Triple Crown winner in Cabrera. So there's a lot more potential." Fanatics also has the Tigers and Giants ranked evenly in terms of sales potential, but notes the Tigers have not won the Series since ‘84, while the Giants last won two years ago.

TIME TO ACTIVATE: On the sponsorship activation side, sponsored World Series gate premiums include 50,000 “Livestrong-style” Stand Up To Cancer rubber bracelets for Game One, sponsored by MasterCard. The credit card company also will break creative during the game featuring Red Sox P and cancer survivor Jon Lester. Game Two sees Firestone underwriting the distribution of 50,000 World Series trivia books. At Game Three, 50,000 Taco Bell/World Series ticket lanyards will be distributed; while at Game Four, 50,000 fans will receive a State Farm/World Series lapel pin.

TALKIN’ BASEBALL: MLB's online and TV outlets have planned extensive programming schedules. MLB.com will feature daily live pre- and postgame shows with on-site remotes to the participating ballparks. The site, in partnership with EMC, will also offer panoramic in-stadium World Series digital photographs where fans can zoom in and find themselves, as well as custom video programming featuring great moments in World Series history. Choice Hotels will be sponsoring a first-ever World Series version of PrePlay, the predictive mobile gaming app. MLB.com also is planning World Series editions of "Bucks On the Pond," its game show-themed video program staged at MLB ballparks. MLB Network will air two-hour editions of "MLB Tonight" from each ballpark at 3:00pm and 6:00pm ET each World Series gameday. "MLB Tonight" will continue its postgame analysis each night from the ballparks. The network also has planned a set of documentaries and features set to air prior to and during the World Series week. The first marks the 40th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's death.

SOCIAL LIVING: Social media efforts will see MLB Network’s Eric Byrnes, Sean Casey and Mike Lowell live tweeting during each game. MLB.com plans a dedicated World Series feed of its "140 Club," channeling conversation around each game.
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