SBD/October 24, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

MLB Taking Extra Steps To Ensure Exclusivity Of Its National Partners During World Series

MLB has covered local sponsors' regular-season ads with World Series signage
MLB has 19 national sponsors whose exclusivity is "zealously protected at what baseball calls its jewel events -- the All-Star Game and the postseason," according to Paul White of USA TODAY. So viewers are "only going to see Gatorade in the dugout, no matter what deals individual clubs have with other companies during the season." It goes so far that the Fenway Park grounds crew "has had to use a backup tarp on the field during the playoffs because their regular one has a giant L.L. Bean logo -- and that's not even a competitor of an MLB national sponsor." MLB VP/Corporate Sales & Marketing Jeremy Cohen said, "On-field is kind of the holy ground, if you will, and that's the ground where we try to protect as much as possible. We protect our partners and you can protect them even better when can take everything out." In the case of the tarp, L.L. Bean is "a local sponsor, which means their deal is with the Red Sox for the 81-game regular season." Same for Dunkin' Donuts, whose logos are "all over the Fenway dugouts." But "not now." They have been "covered with World Series signage." Cohen said, "Our area that we can protect in the postseason is foul pole to foul pole, foul territory and field level." He added, "We work very closely with the clubs. This starts with a preliminary e-mail in July to the clubs in contention. ... We get on the phone with them at the end of August and we start telling them what needs to be switched, what can stay." There is someone in place to "make sure a manager or player heading into a postgame media session isn't carrying or wearing something from what in essence is MLB's other list of banned substances" (USA TODAY, 10/24).

CASHING IN:'s Antonio Alfonso noted the bigger sponsors of the Red Sox and Cardinals "will expect a home run of their own during the series." Alfonso decided to "screen World Series sponsors with parameters like cross-sponsorship between both pennant winners, strong earnings per share (EPS) growth for next year, and high performance this past year." Bank of America is a sponsor of both teams, which means "billboards and commercials will surely include their brand during the World Series this year." Dunkin' Donuts, a major sponsor of the Red Sox, "could get a lot of positive exposure" with Fenway Park possibly hosting four World Series games (, 10/22).
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