SBJ/December 17-23, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

MLB rights holder bringing new look to Spring BP cap

MLB’s biggest licensees introduced new products at a recent show in Las Vegas, and one of the main items is a batting practice cap that will be introduced during spring training from on-field cap rights holder New Era.

The new batting practice “Spring BP” cap has the silhouette of New Era’s bread and butter 5950 cap, which is worn during games, and adds fabrication with better moisture management. Beyond that, the new cap will be a story of secondary and tertiary logos getting exposure on an on-field product. All the tweaks are not in or approved yet, but the mustachioed “Mr. Red” character looks like he will make an appearance on the Cincinnati Reds’ cap. For tradition-bound teams like the New
Photos by: NEW ERA
York Yankees, the features will be more around color, with the Yankees’ familiar blue and white “NY” mark adopting some gray in its color palette.

“This is a way to get a new look on-field and so far, we’ve given some more latitude on the logos,” said New Era President Pete Augustine, promising a multipronged marketing campaign behind the new Spring BP cap.

Both Augustine and MLB licensing officials cautioned that marketing plans for the new program were not “fully baked,” nor is all the artwork approved. However, the plan has been presented to New Era’s sales force and some retailers.

MLB’s other large apparel licensee, VF’s Majestic brand, presented both a $70 Therma Base quarter zip performance hoodie for spring training and a “Triple Climate 3-in-1” water-resistant jacket in which the outer shells zips out for a separate garment. Again, plans and approvals for that jacket are not complete, but the price point will be around $225.

“We’re still working on approvals,” acknowledged VF Licensed Sports Group President Jim Pisani, “but for us, the good news on both products is that we’ve been investing in R&D and we are seeing a steady stream of results in terms of on-field product.”

Beyond the apparel front, manufacturer Ty, of Beanie Babies fame, showed a line of MLB-logoed Beanie Ballz plush, while new licensee Kolcraft had a line of potty rings, umbrella strollers and step stools that it will sell beginning next year.

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