SBD/January 9, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

T-Mobile Forming Partnerships With MLB Broadcasters In Addition To New Telecom Deal

T-Mobile's system will first be tested during the World Baseball Classic in March
T-Mobile's three-year deal with MLB to become the league's new telecommunications sponsor is "just part of the latest effort from T-Mobile to tap into the baseball world," according to Lance Whitney of CNET.com. The carrier is "forming partnerships with Fox, Turner, MLB Network and ESPN." T-Mobile will sponsor ESPN's "Wednesday Night Baseball" and will "work with MLB on local sponsorship of certain teams." The Pirates and Mariners already are sponsored by T-Mobile (CNET.com, 1/9). LAPTOP magazine's Daniel Howley notes T-Mobile also will be "featured" on ESPN's "Baseball Tonight." Meanwhile, T-Mobile indicated that it will "feature between two and four smartphone-like devices stored inside of a T-Mobile-branded box similar to those currently installed in MLB's ballparks." The boxes will have a "clear plastic door that will show off the communications devices" (LAPTOPMAG.com, 1/9). In N.Y., Richard Sandomir reports the wireless system "will be tested at the World Baseball Classic in Arizona in March." After seeing how it works and "fixing any problems, baseball will roll it out in the major leagues." T-Mobile's sponsorship plans include "enhancing network connectivity for fans at all ballparks and helping MLB Advanced Media create content for smartphones and tablets." Each dugout's "branded cellphone docking station -- about the size of a personal computer tower -- will be about as visible to TV cameras as the Gatorade vessel is." The move to cellphones "is not" due to a incident during the '11 World Series when noise at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington caused Cardinals bullpen coach Derek Lilliquist to "misunderstand" manager Tony La Russa's instructions (N.Y. TIMES, 1/9). YAHOO SPORTS' Kevin Kaduk noted the wall phones "will remain in the converted dugouts as a means of insurance should something go wrong with the new setup" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 1/8).

TWITTER REAX: The T-Mobile/MLB deal has drawn some response on Twitter. Synergy CEO Tim Crow wrote, "Like T-Mobile's MLB deal, great fit & content play. Key to sort fans' in-stadia connectivity too though." MLS Digital Properties Coordinator Peter Amador wrote, "I cannot wait to see how the T-Mobile - MLB partnership enhances the in-stadium experience." MSP Sports' Tim McGhee wrote, "I'm sure T-Mobile deal includes significant media spend. But might not be enough to ensure exclusivity on broadcasts." The Wellynn Group's Richard Wells wrote, "Can you see Charlie Manuel texting for a righty? Me neither."
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