MLB ADDS WAL-MART TO ITS ALL-STAR FAN BALLOTING PROGRAM
MLB has expanded its All-Star Game fan balloting
program while adding a retail partner "on every marketer's
hit list: Wal-Mart," according to Terry Lefton of BRANDWEEK.
Also included in the program are Pizza Hut and CompUSA. MLB
will distribute a record 70 million ballots (up from 60
million last year) between May 2 and June 21. Wal-Mart will
distribute 20 million at 2,200 of its locations; CompUSA
will handle 30 million inside MLB parks and 2 million in its
156 stores; and Pepsi will distribute 18 million at Pizza
Hut's 4,500 units. Lefton reports that Wal-Mart, "which
sells around 10% of MLB's domestic licensed merchandise,
will buttress its balloting with front-of-store displays for
licensed apparel, trading cards, videogames and Pepsi
products." MLB VP/Corporate Sponsorships Tom Worcester:
"Everyone wants Wal-Mart. But, in the first year, anything
is a test and operational details are important to anyone
with that many locations" (BRANDWEEK, 4/13 issue).
VIDEO: BRANDWEEK's T.L. Stanley reports that Polygram
plans a $5M "overhaul" of marketing, packaging and promos
for the MLB video line after acquiring it earlier this year.
The relaunch will begin in May with two new releases, "and
will develop new music-driven titles" targeting younger
demos (T.L. Stanley, BRANDWEEK, 4/13 issue).