SBJ/July 14-20, 2014/In Depth

Sponsors cover all the bases with All-Star activation plans

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Major League Baseball’s corporate partners are involved in a bevy of activities around the All-Star Game in Minneapolis.

Thirteen MLB corporate sponsors are advertising during the Fox All-Star Game telecast: Anheuser-Busch, Pepsi, Gatorade, T-Mobile, Nike, Gillette, Head & Shoulders, Chevrolet, MasterCard, Firestone, Church & Dwight, Taco Bell and Target.

T-Mobile’s high-profile efforts include sponsorship of the FanFest.
Gillette, Anheuser-Busch, Chevrolet, Firestone, MasterCard, Pepsi and Taco Bell are advertising during ESPN’s Home Run Derby telecast on Monday, as well.

As was the case last year, its first as an MLB sponsor, T-Mobile has one of the most noticeable footprints in the All-Star host city, including its title sponsorship of the All-Star Game FanFest at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The wireless carrier is using a variety of All-Star assets to highlight its offer of a free one-week “test drive” for its data network with the newest iPhone.

“We’re pushing our Data-Strong Network with everything we do in Minnesota,” said Mike Belcher, T-Mobile’s vice president of media, sponsorships and events.

Sign-up kiosks and charging stations will be available in and around the FanFest and Target Field. Player appearances are slated for local T-Mobile stores, three of which will be wrapped in All-Star Game and “test drive” messaging.

At Target Field, T-Mobile will have signage in dugouts and bullpens, home plate signs, and tablets in suites for fans to sign up. During the Fox All-Star Game broadcast, the carrier will have three spots and an enhancement that will feature the best All-Star selfies submitted to #Allstarselfie.

The newest piece of All-Star marketing inventory is a 90,000-square-foot area adjacent to the ballpark that is
Budweiser cans and bottles in the local market feature All-Star Game logos.
sponsored by Pepsi, which is leveraging the All-Star Game as part of the company’s summer push behind its Pepsi made with real sugar. The Pepsi MLB All-Star Summer Block Party at Butler Square, provided free for fans, opened Sunday and will remain open through Tuesday from noon to 7 p.m., and includes food trucks with local and celebrity chefs. It’s the next generation of the MLB Sponsor Zone, which has been outside All-Star Game venues for years.

“We wanted something more ownable, and All-Star is a great fit with our ‘Real. Big. Summer.’ campaign,” said Justin Toman, director of sports marketing for PepsiCo Americas Beverages.

Chris Marciani, MLB vice president of national sales, said around 60 percent of fans going to events at Target Field will pass the Summer Block Party area. The space has a capacity of around 4,500 people and includes a Target-branded store with All-Star Game merchandise and displays from Chevrolet, Fox and MLB.com.

Pepsi also is leveraging with a sweepstakes offering four reclining and upholstered “Big Blue Seats” at the game as the top prize. The seats will be featured in a Fox enhancement during the game broadcast.

Away from the game site, Pepsi is activating at Minnesota’s Mall of America with sampling, a virtual home run contest and a concert with Us the Duo.

Budweiser, MLB’s “official beer,” will have its Clydesdales on hand. Within the local market, 76,000 cases of Budweiser products will feature MLB and All-Star Game logos, totaling 1,276,800 cans and bottles.

Pepsi is sponsoring the MLB All-Star Summer Block Party.
In its first year as an MLB sponsor, Church & Dwight has a “Strike Out Stains Challenge” for its Arm & Hammer and OxiClean brands at the FanFest. Community programs include a tie-in with Team Smile, which will offer free dental care to 300 kids, supporting Arm & Hammer dental products.

To further brand the right-field section over its outfield wall sign, Church & Dwight will distribute logoed foam fingers, fashioned after baseball gloves. Church & Dwight also has a spot in the game telecast and is sponsoring the T-shirt guns that will be firing co-branded All-Star Game T-shirts.

Chevrolet again sponsors the Red Carpet Parade, broadcast on MLB Network, which will feature 65 Silverados, Corvettes and Camaros carrying players, managers, coaches and families. Fans will also get to sample vehicles through the “Catch A Chevy” program outside the convention center.

Other activations include MasterCard’s annual Stand Up to Cancer tribute; Head & Shoulders’ “Wash & Style” events in Minneapolis with hall of famer Dennis Eckersley; Nike’s sponsorship of the Color Run All-Star 5K; Firestone’s ticket lanyard, given to all fans at the All-Star Game; and Target’s program honoring 30 teachers from MLB markets and the retailer’s sponsorship of a concert with Imagine Dragons.

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