SBD/December 6, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

MiLB To Abandon Team-Centric Strategy In New Organization-Wide Marketing Project

O'Conner named MiLB's marketing strategy "Project Brand: 160 teams, one brand"
MiLB President & CEO Pat O’Conner is “again asking the minors to come together, this time to create an industry-wide marketing program that he predicts will attract the major corporate sponsors that MiLB has failed to land under its 20-year-old group marketing program,” according to Josh Leventhal of BASEBALL AMERICA. O’Conner yesterday during the Winter Meetings in Nashville announced the new marketing program -- which he called Project Brand: 160 teams, one brand -- and the committee of minor league execs “that spent the past seven months crafting it.” O’Conner envisions a program that “sells minor league baseball as an entity and promotes the model of affordable, family-friendly entertainment to major companies.” It would “abandon the minors’ current marketing strategy, which pairs individual teams with relevant companies.” Participation in the new program “will be voluntary for teams but will require a $15,000 investment that can be paid over two installments next year.” Single-A Carolina League Myrtle Beach Pelicans and Single-A New York-Penn League State College Spikes Chair & Managing Partner Chuck Greenberg said that the program “does not expect to return a profit in its first two years.” Initial reaction “from several minor league owners and officials was largely positive." The Baseball Internet Rights Co. “appears to have validated O’Conner’s theory that the minor leagues could attract bigger and better advertisers working as one.” With all but a “handful of teams on board, BIRCO announced its first profitable year" following the '11 season. O’Conner said, “The current program is effective, but lacks the resources and organizational commitment to efficiently serve this powerful brand" (BASEBALLAMERICA.com, 12/4).
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