(from Sports Business Journal, April 1-7, 2013) Anheuser-Busch begins the Major League Baseball (MLB) season by rolling out new team-branded Budweiser cans for 23 clubs. As the presenting sponsor of opening week, Anheuser-Busch tagged TV ads, in-stadium announcements, and presented point-of-sale materials with an “opening week” tag for wholesalers. Venues such as Baltimore, Boston, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Dodger Stadium, Pittsburg, and St. Louis, are acquiring festivities such as “Build-a-Bars” as part of opening day activities. Vice President of media, sports, and entertainment at Anheuser-Busch, Blaise D’Sylva, stated, “We’re trying to make Opening Day a bigger occasion.” Opening for the MLB began on March 31 as the Texas Rangers kicked off the season against new divisional foe, the Houston Astros. An estimated total of 130 million, 12-ounce, Budweiser cans will the MLB logo or team logos. Twenty MLB stadiums will also be actively involved in the MLB-themed cans.
More advertising activities are revolving around Proctor & Gamble’s Head and Shoulders brand and Los Angeles Angel’s pitcher, C.J. Wilson. C.J. will be replacing Minnesota catcher, Joe Maurer, in ads sponsor by Saatchi & Saatchi, New York. As part of MLB’s Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities program, $1 will be donated for every strikeout recorded in an MLB game, which was greater than 36,000 strikeouts across the league in the 2012 season. The program will refer this fundraiser activity as the “Whiff of the Game.”
Lastly, MLB is partnering with Scotts lawn brand and Wal-Mart by helping Scotts of Wal-Mart lawn and garden department to compete with Home Depot and Lowe’s department. Across 3,800 Wal-Mart locations, a program known as “Ultimate Home Field Advantage” will be presented as a point-of-sale display. To go with this advertising campaign, 20 MLB-themed “retail-tainment” attractions, including batting cages placed in front of stores, will be a part of the Ultimate Home Field Advantage program. Scotts is also sponsoring ESPN’s “Mike and Mike in the Morning” and the MLB Fan Cave in New York City. The Cincinnati Red’s participated in an opening day activity with Scotts to roll out a red-themed grass and flower display in the city’s Fountain Square.