SBD/July 11, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

T-Mobile Using Status As MLB Sponsor To Promote New Initiatives Around All-Star Game

In its first year as an MLB corporate sponsor, T-Mobile is using next week's All-Star Game and associated events to help launch a series of technology, pricing and packaging initiatives that the company is calling "Our Boldest Moves Yet." Announced yesterday in N.Y. by senior T-Mobile execs was the expansion of its 4G LTE network to cover 157 million people in 116 metro areas; JUMP (Just Upgrade My Phone) a new program allowing up to two phone upgrades a year, instead of the standard two years; and a new four-line family plan, priced at $100 monthly. The moves continue the challenger brand's "uncarrier" positioning. "We are redefining a stupid, broken, arrogant industry," said T-Mobile CEO John Legere. Of course, every sports property wants its marketing partners to use its big events as launch platforms. “When you look at how T-Mobile is leveraging a big marketing initiative by using one of our jewel events and doing it in the country’s biggest market, you can see it is smart and something both parties will benefit from," said MLB Exec VP/Business Tim Brosnan. New ads from Publicis supporting the JUMP offering and an ad with Dodgers 1B Adrian Gonzalez supporting the family plan will run during ESPN's coverage of the Chevy Home Run Derby Monday night and Fox' MLB ASG telecast Tuesday.

BIG PLANS DURING GAME BROADCAST: T-Mobile has three ads scheduled to run during the ASG along with a live, branded in-game feature. T-Mobile VP/Media & Sponsorships Mike Belcher said the carrier hopes to use the time for an interview with one of its four MLB endorsers (Gonzalez, Nationals RF Bryce Harper, Dodgers CF Matt Kemp and Pirates CF Andrew McCutchen) to illustrate that they have "made the jump" to being an All-Star. There also is a significant buy across local print and ESPN The Magazine, a large presence on and and a "takeover" on the No. 7 subway line, which services ASG host site Citi Field. Pop-up stores also will be erected at the T-Mobile-entitled Fan Fest and at Citi Field. During the game, 30 people in a randomly selected row of seats will win Samsung smart phones, a promo that will be touted on the Citi Jumbotron. A team of 50 T-Mobile employees will run in Saturday's ASG 5K Run in Brooklyn. "This is the coming-out party for our MLB relationship, so we'll really be looking at awareness of our sponsorship, awareness of JUMP, and purchase-intent measures, especially among avid MLB fans, when we measure our efforts around All-Star Week," said Belcher.
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