SBJ/June 12 - 18, 2006/This Weeks News

A natural fit: MLB inks deal with Baby Ruth

Nestlé’s Baby Ruth brand has signed a three-year deal making it the official candy bar of Major League Baseball.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Nestlé will support with media buys on MLB’s TV rights holders Fox and ESPN that should begin as soon as next month. The contract also includes a club spending requirement. An incremental bit of offshore rights allows for rights in Puerto Rico.

Nestlé will put MLB logos on millions of Baby Ruth wrappers and activate with sweepstakes and other promotions. It also plans sampling at MLB’s jewel events.

A Nestlé spokeswoman said the company had no plans to use players in its marketing, although former White Sox player Harold Baines was signing autographs on behalf of Nestlé last week at The National Confectioners Association All Candy Expo in Chicago, where the company announced the deal.

MLB sponsorship chief John Brody said data from Simmons Market Research revealed that two-thirds of MLB fans buy five or more candy bars a month, and the fact that Baby Ruth buyers were 22 percent more likely to be MLB fans made the selling job relatively easy. Also in MLB’s favor was the brand name, long connected to the most famous slugger of all time, though without an official licensee. “The connection was already there, and with all the data in our favor, it just made sense to take advantage of it,” Brody said.

MLB’s last confection deal was in the late 1990s with Hershey’s for its Twizzlers and Bubble Yum brands.

GMR and the Radiate Sports Group assisted Baby Ruth on the deal with MLB.

Mmmm, chocolate
Sports properties/teams and their partners in the chocolate and confectionery category.

PROPERTY/TEAM COMPANY CATEGORY
NBA Nestlé (Crunch) Chocolate and confections
NFL Mars (Snickers) Chocolate and non-chocolate confectionery
Wal-Mart FLW Tour
(bass fishing)
Mars (Snickers) Chocolate and non-chocolate confectionery
Little League Mars (Snickers) Candy bar
NASCAR Mars (M&M's) Chocolate
Robert Yates Racing Mars (M&M's) Primary sponsor of Elliott Sadler's No. 38 car
Andretti Green Racing Hershey's Associate sponsor

Source: SportsBusiness Journal research

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