State Farm Out As Home Run Derby Sponsor; MLB Looks For Pepsi Renewal
State Farm is "out as an MLB corporate sponsor and title sponsor of the annual Home Run Derby, held the evening before the All-Star Game," according to Terry Lefton in this week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. That means MLB "heads into the offseason minus a sponsor of six years and with the pressure of having to sell one of its largest sponsorship packages: the ESPN-televised Home Run Derby, which State Farm had titled" since '07. The "bad news for those selling a package that one agency source pegged at an 'asking price' of $10 million a year is that both the All-Star Game, to which the Derby is inevitably tied, and the World Series registered historic lows in terms of ratings and total viewers on Fox." While sponsorship buys are "infamously difficult to compare head to head, State Farm already has voted with its pocketbook, renewing with the NBA for an additional four years while dropping its MLB rights." Sources said that the insurer will "keep its MLB team deals while spending more on the NBA, which offers a younger audience." Elsewhere on MLB’s "offseason sales agenda is a renewal with Pepsi, which had held baseball marketing rights" since '97 (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 11/12 issue).