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SBJ/September 12-18, 2011/People and Pop Culture
MLB helps ‘Moneyball’ get the baseball right
Published September 12, 2011, Page 3
Based on the 2003 best-seller by Michael Lewis, “Moneyball” chronicles the travails of Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane, who uses sabermetrics to build a winning team on a shoestring budget.
Lewis also wrote “The Blind Side,” which was turned into a hit movie in 2009 and grossed more than $300 million worldwide.
The studio is hoping the combination of Brad Pitt’s star power and meticulous attention to authenticity and detail in the baseball scenes will help deliver a hit to mainstream movie audiences. To ensure accuracy, the studio used a combination of re-enactments and archival footage of MLB action, often editing them together. The result, says one MLBer working with the studio, is a new standard for realism within the baseball film genre.
Marketing of the film is a joint effort. Sony Pictures has purchased ad inventory on MLB television rights holders, including behind-the-plate electronic signage. MLB websites carried a sweepstakes offering a trip and tickets to the movie’s Sept. 19 Oakland premiere, which will be followed by a benefit dinner. The A’s specifically are offering “Moneyball” tickets as a gift-with-purchase to anyone who bought a field-level ticket to the team’s game this Sunday, at which the first 10,000 fans will get a Pepsi Max “Moneyball” T-shirt. A handful of other MLB clubs will promote the film within their ballparks, with ads and “lucky row” promotions. In addition, MLB’s “This Week In Baseball” is doing a segment on the film.