SBJ/April 3 - 9, 2006/World Congress Of Sports

MLB will spotlight Bonds’ run at mark; sponsors are wary

Major League Baseball will run a national marketing campaign around Barry Bonds surpassing the league’s home-run record, should it happen, MLB executive vice president Tim Brosnan said at a panel discussion.

Tim Brosnan says MLB will follow policy on
milestones with Barry Bonds.
Bonds begins the 2006 MLB season with 708 career home runs, trailing only Babe Ruth (714) and Hank Aaron (755) on MLB’s all-time list. His pursuit of those marks, however, comes after an offseason of allegations linking Bonds and steroid use.

Brosnan said the league would pay a token gesture to Bonds’ expected eclipsing of Ruth’s mark, but would enlist its corporate sponsors and create national marketing campaigns should Bonds surpass 755.

MLB in recent years has commemorated the milestones of many players, including Bonds, who surpassed 500, 600 and 700 home runs since 2001. “We’ve got a policy that’s been at work here,” Brosnan said.

Brosnan said ads to mark Bonds passing Ruth’s home-run total would be primarily local, adding that such ads would aim to congratulate Bonds and commemorate the achievement.

“The big record is 755,” he said. “That’s when we go national.”

Pepsi-Cola North America CEO Dawn Hudson, sitting next to Brosnan on the five-person panel, spoke of reservations about featuring Bonds in Pepsi ads, saying the company would be willing to participate “probably in a muted way.”

“We have to be concerned with what it’s saying to youth in America,” she said. “We need to be careful that we’re doing right by youth and having the symbols of what achievement means in this country.”

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