SBD/February 26, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Anheuser-Busch, Ozzie Smith Team Up In Effort To Make Opening Day A National Holiday

Anheuser-Busch and Baseball HOFer Ozzie Smith yesterday began a campaign to "support declaring opening day a national holiday by collecting 100,000 signatures in 30 days for a petition on the website," according to Lisa Brown of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. Other former MLBers also "lent their voices to the campaign with videos on Budweiser’s website," including Eric Byrnes, Howard Johnson and Sean Casey. Washington Univ. sports marketing professor Joe Goodman said that the petition is a "marketing-driven move" by A-B. Univ. of Missouri-St. Louis marketing professor Haim Mano noted that A-B "stands to gain from the campaign’s exposure, whether or not an opening day holiday ever materializes." Mano: "A-B has nothing to lose." He added that if the campaign is "successful, it undoubtedly would translate into more beer sales." Brown reports to "get the word out about the petition, Budweiser created digital ads to appear on websites, including and" Budweiser has been the official beer of MLB "for more than three decades, and the league is one of the beer brand’s major marketing pushes." Budweiser Brand Marketing Dir Tom Kraus: "We feel that Budweiser is the only brand that can authentically move this forward" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 2/26).

ANY POSSIBILITY? In DC, Steve Hendrix in a front-page piece notes it is "relatively easy to get a commemorative day declared by a simple resolution," but MLB is "aiming to actually close the federal government for a day." MLB will have to "make a strong case that its National Pastime status is worthy of such a distincton." Hendrix: "Why not football, which is vastly more popular?" (WASHINGTON POST, 2/26). Smith, who was making the rounds on national media promoting the initative yesterday, said, "I don't know what the odds of success are ... although I suspect the chance of national-holiday status for opening day is slimmer than a new edition of postage stamps honoring Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens" (Tacoma NEWS TRIBUNE, 2/26). While the effort is clearly a marketing initiative by A-B, the news is still a top headline on, and has been picked up by several national news web sites, including Fox News, the Huffington Post, USA Today, Politico and Time (THE DAILY).
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