MLB Protects Sponsors At All Costs

(from USA Today, October 23, 2013) Sponsorships in Major League Baseball are almost as important as the games being played. They become even more important during the postseason, specifically for the All Star Game and the World Series. With 19 national sponsors affiliated with the MLB, there is a level of expectations that come with showing these sponsor’s logos. Gatorade is a good example. Despite what sports drink sponsor each individual baseball team has, during the post season all you will see is Gatorade.

While teams start preparing their players for the post season consideration in early August, those in charge of marketing and sales start contacting those teams in order to see what their stadiums would need in order to be revamped for postseason and World Series games. Jeremy Cohen, MLB’s Vice President says, “When we sign a deal, we sign a long-term, all-inclusive deal, and we mean business and they mean business.”

For this year’s World Series, this means that Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, had to take certain steps. A local sponsor of the Red Sox is Dunkin’ Donuts who had their logo all over the dugout meaning for the World Series these signs had to be covered during the games. A back up tarp had to replace the main tarp that has an L.L. Bean logo on it, and most of the signage behind home plate has been covered as well. The Cardinals at Busch Stadium didn’t have to prepare quite as much since most of their local sponsors, such as Budweiser, are in line with MLB’s national sponsors.

To make sure that teams and players aren’t seen with any other logos or products, there are representatives from MLB at every postseason game. Their job is to make sure that players, coaches, and staff are carrying Gatorade into post-game interviews. They are also there to make sure that if a player were to need a pain reliever or allergy medicine, that those players were seen using only Bayer Aspirin and Alka-Seltzer. “We have eyes and ears everywhere,” Cohen says.