Major League Baseball taps Hill Holiday as new AOR


After a review that started in July, Major League Baseball (MLB) officially selected Boston-based Hill Holliday as its agency of record. The partnership will commence for the upcoming 2011 season. Hill Holiday will replace McCann Erickson NY, which handled the account for almost eight years. MLB’s major media spend totaled nearly $20 million last year, according to Nielsen, which doesn’t include online.

“Hill Holliday’s vision for our brand and game was modern, innovative and inspiring,” said Tim Brosnan, Major League Baseball EVP/Business.  “The agency’s creative approach for reaching fans in the complex and fragmented media environment is unique and extraordinarily promising.”

The agency won the account, in large part, by demonstrating how a fully integrated, non-traditional campaign could engage fans and viewers across multiple platforms.

“Baseball is fundamentally a social idea,” said Karen Kaplan, Hill Holliday’s President.  “It crosses generations and brings family and friends together, and is deeply engrained in our culture.  With a fresh approach to content and marketing, we think baseball fits beautifully into the modern entertainment landscape.  We agree with our new clients that the golden age of baseball is right now.  It’s an honor to work on this great game.”

According to AdAge, the agencies were briefed on helping the MLB create a movement to capture the enthusiasm of all kinds of baseball fans. The MLB is continually facing challenges to evolve its brand and communicate with fans in a fast paced changing media environment, while staying true to its traditional American roots. “The fact we chose Hill Holliday shows how they hit the mark,” Brosnan said. “It was the singular best presentation by an agency to us in the 15 years I’ve been sitting at the table. The most impressive part was that they took a long view – talking about (MLB’s marketing plan) over five, six and eight years. They knew what they liked about baseball and what consumers like about baseball.”