(from Sports Business Journal, November 11, 2013) The Major League Baseball season is one of the longest seasons in sports. The 162-game season takes place from April through September with a month of Spring Training in March and playoffs in October. There isn’t very much going on during baseball’s six-month off-season, unlike other sports. Basketball and football, for instance, have an off-season draft and draft combines. Even when games are not being played, there are still events taking place to draw fans’ interests. For baseball, however, it’s a long, cold winter. This March, The Legacy Agency (TLA) has plans to fill the emptiness that is the baseball off-season. TLA is one of the largest agency firms in baseball representing over 60 players including CC Sabathia and Jose Reyes. In March the New York City-based agency will be traveling to Phoenix, at the heart of MLB’s 15-team Cactus League, to host “Baseball City.”
Many teams have their own fan festivals in the off-season as a way to stimulate interest and excitement for the upcoming season. TLA’s baseball expo will be like nothing baseball has ever seen. The event is intended to bring fans to Phoenix that have come from around the country to watch their team play Spring Training in the warm Arizona desert. Activities for the expo include a dinner with MLB legends, autograph sessions, hitting and fielding clinics, and a number of other interactive events. There will also be numerous memorabilia and trading card vendors.
The Legacy Agency CEO, Mike Principe, compares the event to expos like the PGA Merchandise and even Comic Con. “We’re pitching this as a great way for marketers to target baseball fans effectively without having to do multiple deals,” said Principe. The price on sponsorships for the event is from $25,000 to $500,000. If the event is as successful as Principe hopes, TLA plans to expand the number of days and locations of the expo as well as open similar shows in Florida to attract fans of the other 15 MLB teams belonging to the Grapefruit League.