Major League Baseball Properties (MLBP) and Major League Baseball International (MLBI) announced renewed sponsorship deals with partners including Gillette, InterContinental Hotels Group; PepsiCo in Latin America and ESun in Taiwan. In addition, on the heels of the successful World Baseball Classic, MLBI has reached agreements for new sponsorships in Japan with Lawson, Lotte and Kowa, while Gillette has expanded its MLB sponsorship into Puerto Rico.
The renewal with Gillette extends the longest running sponsorship association of any U.S. sports league into its ninth decade. As part of the new agreement, Gillette – which has been an MLB sponsor since 1939 – will continue to have exclusive rights in several brand categories, including men’s and women’s pre and post wet/dry shaving products, antiperspirants/deodorants and men’s skin care products. Gillette continues to be the presenting sponsor of the American League and National League Rookie of the Month Award which recognizes the top AL & NL rookie each month of the regular season.
As part of the renewal with IHG, Holiday Inn will become the “Official Partner of MLB Road Trips.” A highlight of the sponsorship is a platform in which MLB fans can earn free tickets to any MLB game by staying at a Holiday Inn or Holiday Inn Express hotel.
The renewal with Pepsi extends its designation throughout Latin America as the Official Soft Drink of Major League Baseball, and an Official Sponsor of MLB, the American League, National League, All-Star Game, Division Series, League Championship Series and World Series. The sponsorship in Latin America also extends to other Pepsi brands, including Diet Pepsi, Pepsi One, Mountain Dew, 7UP, Gatorade and other varieties.
In Asia, ESun, a leading financial services company, has renewed its official MLB sponsorship in Taiwan.
Lawson, one of Japan’s leading convenience store chains, will sponsor the MLB Pitch, Hit & Run Japan program scheduled for May in Sapporo. Lawson will activate the program in its 500 stores throughout the northern island of Hokkaido and will feature television, print and POP as part of the promotion. Additionally, Lawson will offer an MLB branded “healthy choice” bento (Japanese box lunch) at its stores starting in early May.
Lotte will use MLB marks to promote its popular Soh ice cream brand. The campaign is supported by television, print and in store POP and MLB team marks will be used on the packaging of 20 million containers. Convenience stores throughout Japan will offer branded POP that offers consumers the chance to win MLB branded premiums and a grand prize trip to the 2009 MLB All-Star Game in St. Louis.
Kowa, a leading producer of analgesic patches, will use its MLB rights in conjunction with advertising featuring two-time World Baseball Classic MVP and Red Sox righty Daisuke Matsuzaka. The program will make heavy use of television advertising but may also include in store POP.