SBD/February 20, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Could The Young, Clean-Cut Mike Trout Replace Retiring Jeter As Face Of MLB?

Trout claims endorsement deals with brands like Subway and BodyArmor sports drink
Angels CF Mike Trout on Tuesday "spent seven hours filming a Nike commercial" that also features 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick, Yankees CF Jacoby Ellsbury and Rockies LF Carlos Gonzalez, according to Jorge Ortiz of USA TODAY. There is "likely no more marketable player in baseball than the clean-cut Trout, who has endorsement deals" with Subway and BodyArmor sports drink, with more "sure to follow." MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, who is retiring at the end of the '14 season along with Yankees SS Derek Jeter, would be "hard-pressed to pick a better new face of the game" than Trout. Trout "acknowledges his celebrity and the range of opportunities before him have expanded to levels he never would have imagined." President Obama two weeks ago "compared the recently passed farm bill to him, saying, 'It's somebody who's got a lot of tools and multitasks'" (USA TODAY, 2/20).

JETER'S HEIR APPARENT? MLB.com's Phil Rogers writes no one in MLB "wants to see Derek Jeter walk away at the end of this season," but if the "planets continue to align like this, we'll have a ready-made replacement as the face of the sport" in Trout (MLB.com, 2/19). YAHOO SPORTS' Tim Brown wrote there will "not be another Jeter," but MLB could "use another like him, someone it can rely on, whose real-world decency matches his aptitude from seven to 10 o'clock every night, and contrariwise" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 2/19). In West Palm Beach, Greg Stoda writes MLB has "young guns" like Nationals LF Bryce Harper, Dodgers RF Yasiel Puig, and Trout among its "emerging faces." There also is Tigers 1B Miguel Cabrera as "the game’s biggest star." However, only Trout "seems to have an attitude and approach similar to Jeter’s." Stoda: "But it’s unfair to saddle anyone with the burden of possible succession to Jeter as a respected influence and presence in the game" (PALM BEACH POST, 2/16). In N.Y., Andy Martino wrote Obama's allusion to Trout "was the type of crossover moment that MLB needs its young stars to experience." While Trout is "talented, charming, welcoming of attention and experimenting with national exposure," he also "serves as a reminder that baseball very rarely produces mainstream cultural icons anymore." Jeter's exit as a "national figure will create a void that will not immediately be filled" (NYDAILYNEWS.com, 2/19).
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