MLB shopping title deal for Home Run Derby to insurers
The ESPN-televised Home Run Derby, one of the largest sponsorship assets sold by MLB and one of the biggest sports ratings draws of the summer, was left without a sponsor last year when State Farm exited MLB’s corporate roster after six years. The departure of MLB sales chief Lou Koskovolis in February to lead sales for NBC Sports Group’s Golf Media further complicates a potential deal, even at a time when insurance brands are spending marketing dollars like it is Monopoly money.
|State Farm’s name came off the derby after last season. Will another insurer want to follow?
Whether one insurance brand would want to follow another as a Home Run Derby sponsor is an intriguing question. Geico has more than a dozen MLB club deals, including one with the Mets and Citi Field, which will host this year’s derby and All-Star Game.
Without much time to plan marketing activation around such a sizable investment, several sources said, the league was close to awarding the derby to new wireless sponsor T-Mobile. MLB’s executive vice president of business, Tim Brosnan, said, “We’re still talking to a lot of potential sponsors and should have a decision soon.”
Elsewhere on the MLB sponsorship front: As noted here previously, the renewal of Pepsi, an MLB sponsor since 1997, is all but complete. As for bringing in a new MLB sales chief? Brosnan said that job opening is with a search firm and “we’ll take the best candidate.” In terms of history on the position, when current NFL sponsorship chief John Brody left MLB for Wasserman Media Group in August 2010, MLB tabbed Koskovolis, who was at Six Flags, for the post five months later.
> FRISCO FIZZ: Pepsi has signed a 10-year founding partnership deal for soft drink marketing and pouring rights at the San Francisco 49ers’ yet-unnamed new $1.2 billion facility in Santa Clara, which is set to open in 2014. Since Coke is a longtime 49ers team sponsor, the deal is noteworthy for the switch to rival Pepsi, which has a 10-year term at the new stadium matching that of Anheuser-Busch. A-B also displaced an incumbent 49ers sponsor, MillerCoors.
Coke will have one more year with the 49ers at Candlestick Park, but after that the switch will make the tally at NFL venues 15 for Coke, 15 for Pepsi and one for Dr Pepper Snapple (RC Cola in Chicago).
Pepsi becomes the stadium’s seventh partner at the seven-figure founding partner level, along with A-B, NRG, Brocade Communications Systems, SAP, Sony and data storage company Violin Memory.
CAA Sports handled the deal for the 49ers while Genesco Sports Enterprises handled on behalf of Pepsi.
> PURPLE POWER: While we don’t believe it has anything to do with the demand generated by winning, it is noteworthy that the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens are close to completing a deal that would see the team’s e-commerce needs serviced by Fanatics Retail Group. FMI was the incumbent. Baker Koppelman, Ravens vice president of ticket sales and operations, said the team is also bringing its stadium merchandise operations in-house, which was also previously handled by FMI. He added that the decision to switch e-commerce providers was based both on service and Fanatics’ ability to offer a broader range of licensed products. Within the NFL world, Fanatics services NFL.com’s e-commerce site, along with those of the Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, San Diego Chargers and San Francisco 49ers.
|Federer will be foaming up for Gillette for another three years.
Terry Lefton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.