MASTERCARD SET TO STEAL MLB CREDIT CARD CATEGORY FROM VISA?
MLB "is close to signing MasterCard to a top
sponsorship deal," according to BRANDWEEK's Terry Lefton.
Sources told Lefton that "nothing is signed but MasterCard
appears to have the edge" over Visa, who has been unable to
come to terms with MLB after "a torturous two and a half
years" of negotiations. In talks with MLB, sources said
MasterCard "is offering assurances that MLB would become a
top priority" along with other properties, the NHL, NASCAR,
MLS, and the World Cup. Visa, with its "lavish stable of
properties that includes the Olympics, the NFL and racing's
Triple Crown," was "unable to offer similar guarantees."
Lefton writes that Visa's "on-again/off-again MLB deal
illustrates the leadership vacuum that plagued MLB's central
marketing organization from the departure" of former MLBP
President Rick White in January of '94. Visa negotiators
"were angered by MLB's inability to deliver firm contractual
language," and that their, "The World Series Won't Take
American Express" TV spot "wasn't delivered." Meanwhile,
sources said MLB negotiators were "frustrated by Visa's
reopening of terms, even after the deal was approved by the
card association's senior management" (BRANDWEEK, 10/13).