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Volume 20 No. 42
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Sponsors roll out for MLB series

As the MLB postseason enters its penultimate round, league marketers are flexing their activation muscles. The World Series is scheduled to start Oct. 19, but even before then MLB corporate patrons Taco Bell and MasterCard are debuting baseball-themed creative.

Taco Bell, which featured Mariano Rivera and Joe Girardi last year, now brings in Brian Wilson as a closer.
Taco Bell is following last year’s ad with Mariano Rivera and Joe Girardi with an ad that features San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson, again pitching the quick-service restaurant’s XXL Chalupa. Additional MLB-themed TV creative will tout Taco Bell’s Nacho Wraps.

MasterCard was filming an ad last week including retired MLB stars Andy Pettitte, Mitch Williams, John Kruk, Ron Darling and Reggie Sanders in support of the Stand Up to Cancer “Eat, Drink and Be Generous” initiative it launched around the MLB All-Star Game in July. The ad will thank fans for raising $4 million through use of their MasterCards at restaurants.

Lou Koskovolis, MLB senior vice president of corporate sales and marketing, was ebullient last week, with three decisive fifth games of division series on tap.

“With the excitement from the last night of the season and the various playoff scenarios, there’s solid momentum for us going into our sales season,” he said.

Helping MasterCard support Stand Up to Cancer (from left): Kruk, Williams, Sanders, Darling.
With the exception of Milwaukee and Detroit, which are MillerCoors teams, Anheuser-Busch will be better integrated within MLB postseason locker room celebrations this year and moving forward. Budweiser logos will be plastered on the plastic sheeting protecting the lockers from champagne spray, and coolers of Budweiser will be front and center.

“We had these kinds of rights before, but under our new deal, it is more MLB’s responsibility, so we are at a level more like a Gatorade,” said Brad Brown, A-B’s senior director of sports marketing. “It gets us in to a place that is really a fabric of the game and any marketer wants to be there.”