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Among charity efforts, plenty of room to activate
Published June 29, 2009
MLB officials say that as long ago as last October they were considering positioning the 2009 All-Star Game as more of a cause-related affair. The 2008 New York All-Star Game was the most profitable ever. Since then, a recession and layoffs made a more charitable approach fitting, if not mandatory.
“We knew baseball would be the first sport to feel a real economic impact,” said John Brody, MLB senior vice president of sales and marketing. “So we didn’t say, ‘Put our tag line in your campaign,’ to our sponsors. We told them all, ‘This is a different time and we need to treat it differently.’”
Consequently, the All-Star Game concert is a fundraiser for Stand Up to Cancer. The new All-Star Charity 5K & Fun Run sponsored by The Sports Authority and Nike benefits three cancer-related charities. MasterCard’s usual “hit a sign and win money” promo will generate a large donation, if a batter connects. Bank of America’s “Hits for Hunger” program donates $5,000 for every hit in the All-Star Game to Feeding America, and will match fans’ contributions during the game.
Pepsi is presenting sponsor of the Sheryl Crow concert. Green efforts abound, too, with more than 100 Pepsi-branded recycling bins throughout the concert at the Gateway Arch. Anheuser-Busch continues the recycling cause within Busch Stadium with 200 recycling bins.
“This is a message that’s right for the times, the concert was a great addition, and it all came when we’re looking to do more with baseball,” said Jeff Dubiel, Pepsi vice president of sports marketing.
Pepsi is the exclusive sponsor of about 600 street banners throughout St. Louis. At retail, Shop ’n Save markets has trade and consumer promos, tying in to a special private night at MLB FanFest. Pepsi is also presenting sponsor of the Turner/TBS All-Star Game Selection Show on Sunday.
A-B’s hometown activation begins at the airport and continues throughout town. Budweiser and Bud Light will be sold in commemorative ASG cans and aluminum bottles. A-B is presenting sponsor of MLB Network’s All-Star Week coverage, and also had units in ESPN’s Home Run Derby and Fox’s game telecast. A Clydesdales display sits outside Busch Stadium; the draught team will make deliveries to key accounts and make an on-field appearance.
Auto industry slump notwithstanding, Chevy will again stage its pregame parade, with the all-stars riding in Chevy vehicles. Disney’s “G-Force” film, an All-Star Game balloting sponsor, will give away a million tickets if a grand slam is hit, but there’s been only one All-Star Game grand slam in history. The State Farm-titled Home Run Derby expands its presence through a relationship with Albert Pujols, linchpin to the “Call Your Shot” promotion.
To underscore the Gold Ball portion of the Derby, giant gold baseballs will be displayed around town. In a monthlong promo, MasterCard and BofA are offering four tickets to a preview night at MLB FanFest for customers opening new accounts.