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Volume 24 No. 117

Marketing and Sponsorship

Yankees SS Derek Jeter tops the list of MLB's best-selling jerseys for '11, the second-straight year Jeter has led the league in that category. Phillies P Cliff Lee follows Jeter at second, with Angels 1B Albert Pujols rounding out the top three. There are seven players who did not make the previous year's list but cracked the top 20 for '11. The Phillies and Yankees each have four players in the top 20. Pujols' figures includes the sale of jerseys for both the Angels and Cardinals; Hunter Pence's No. 9 ranking reflects both Phillies and Astros jerseys (MLB).

Yankees SS Derek Jeter
Phillies 2B Chase Utley
Phillies P Cliff Lee
Twins C Joe Mauer
Angels 1B Albert Pujols
Tigers P Justin Verlander
Rangers LF Josh Hamilton
Red Sox 1B Adrian Gonzalez
Phillies P Roy Halladay
Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez
Giants P Tim Lincecum
Rangers 2B Ian Kinsler
Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia
Yankees 2B Robinson Cano
Brewers LF Ryan Braun
Yankees P Mariano Rivera
Phillies RF Hunter Pence
Red Sox LF Carl Crawford
Giants C Buster Posey
Cardinals 3B David Freese

MLB EYEING ALL-TIME SALES HIGH: MARKETWATCH's Sam Mamudi noted due to "free-agent signings and new team uniforms," MLB is "on deck for another all-time high" for licensed merchandise sales this season. Though the league "didn’t make dollar figures available," it indicated that sales of MLB-licensed merchandise last year were up 10% from '10. Pujols' signing with the Angels and 1B Prince Fielder joining the Tigers, along with new jerseys for the Blue Jays and the Marlins, are "helping set a course for growth" in '12. Pujols and Fielder are both "landing in popular major-market teams, further boosting sales at solid franchises." MLB Senior VP/Licensing Howard Smith said that the Marlins are a "perfect storm: This winter, the team got a new name, new logo and kit, a new stadium and several high-profile signings," including SS Jose Reyes and Ps Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell (, 4/4).

FS Midwest has "sold a majority of advertising slots" for its slate of MLB Cardinals telecasts this season, according to Amir Kurtovic of the ST. LOUIS BUSINESS JOURNAL. The station also raised ad prices "about 10 percent this season, cashing in on the record ratings and World Series success of last season." Despite the rate increase, there "doesn't seem to be a shortage of companies and brands that want to be associated with the Cardinals." FS Midwest GM & Senior VP Jack Donovan said that interest in the Cardinals "is always strong, but even more so this year." Donovan: "The number of commercials vary game to game, but for the most part we are about 90 percent sold out." Media buyers indicated that the rate of a 30-second ad on FS Midwest "can range anywhere from $500 to about $2,500." Kurtovic noted the RSN "garnered the most viewers in prime time on 74 nights last season, out of 104 night game broadcasts, and had the second best local-market TV ratings in all MLB markets." St. Louis-based ad agency Hoffman Lewis VP & Client Service Dir Tyler Martin said, "St. Louis consumers want sports, and if your product warrants it and your budgets can support it, I would put you ads in sports" (, 4/4).

BANK ON IT: The Cardinals Thursday announced that they have signed a three-year sponsorship deal with First National Bank of St. Louis. The deal designates First National as the Hometown Bank of the Cardinals and will enable it to offer Cardinals Checking in the St. Louis area. The checking program includes incentives such as specially designed Cardinals checks, a checkbook cover and a Cardinals Debit MasterCard. New customers also will get 10% discounts on merchandise and online ticket purchases (Cardinals).

Businesses around the state of Kentucky “are offering limited-edition collectibles” commemorating the Univ. of Kentucky's men's basketball national championship win, according to Scott Sloan of the LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER. Coca-Cola Communications Dir Jennifer Richmond said that the company has produced “12-ounce cans bearing the UK logo that will be sold in six-packs by retailers throughout the state." She also said that 60,000 six-packs "are being produced and began shipping to retailers Wednesday.” The U.S. Postal Service has created a “commemorative envelope celebrating the Final Four and matted artwork that can be ordered at post offices.” The envelope costs $16, the artwork $40. The items will be “available through July 1 or while supplies last.” The Herald-Leader “has been selling copies of commemorative front pages, press plates and special sections, among other items.” Herald-Leader Publisher Rufus Friday said that the paper “also has prepared a book on the championship season and is finalizing plans for plaques showcasing various front pages.” Sloan reported the championship is the "crown jewel for companies that have been sponsors of UK Athletics all year.” Among those is Central Bank, which “highlighted its sponsorship in recent months with an advertising campaign touting its mobile banking services.” Central Bank Exec VP/Marketing & Sales Steve Kelly said the bank has begun a championship campaign “to remind the Big Blue Nation that we are the official bank of UK Athletics, and we think it makes sense to certainly be a part of the celebratory efforts” (LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER, 4/5).

USA Swimming has signed three new sponsorships, Master Spas, the Century Council and Active Network. All three deals are in the supplier category, which are typically valued in the mid- to high six figures. Master Spas makes hot tubs and swimming treadmills; the Century Council is a non-profit group that runs anti-drunk driving campaigns; and Active Network is a technology company that provides online event registration tools. USA Swimming CMO Matt Farrell said, "This is good momentum going into London. Any time you're at this point and able to make new partnership announcements and develop new programs is good for our Trials, our athletes and awareness of our events." The one-year deals with Master Spas and the Century Council were negotiated in collaboration with Octagon, which represents swimmers Michael Phelps and Natalie Coughlin. Master Spas has its own deal with Phelps, and will host a Michael Phelps Swim Spa challenge at the U.S. Olympic Trials for swimming this summer in Omaha. Century Council has an endorsement deal with Phelps' mother, Debbie. The Century Council plans to do a tour of schools in Omaha with USA Swimming team members., which signed a multi-year agreement, is developing live scoring capabilities for swim meets that will be featured on USA Swimming's "Deck Pass" app and website. The company also has a relationship with USA Triathlon.