“Don’t let that stop you from making a living” – John Wooden.
T-Mobile has quietly renewed itself as MLB’s corporate sponsor, for another five-year term, I’m told. The new deal expands the rights America’s second-biggest wireless carrier has held since 2013, back when it was the fourth-biggest wireless carrier (and well before its acquisition of Sprint).
The brand’s naming rights in the Mariners’ home field, their MLBPA sponsorship rights, addresses seven MLB team contracts (according to the SBJ Atlas) — including the Yankees — and the not-so-insignificant circumstance of this year’s MLB All-Star Game in of the Emerald City indicated that this deal was a fait accompli for some time.
However, the most compelling complement to T-Mobile’s rights I’ve unearthed are rights set to be included – along with an upcharge – in years to come to lock in the 5G network as an underlying and integral technology if MLB transitioning to robotic balls and bats likely for the 2024 season.
An automated balls and batting system will be used throughout Triple-A baseball this season as a precursor to MLB’s inception.
GM’s Cadillac brand buys the nameplate for a new high-end club seating area at Citi Field. What will be known as The Cadillac Club at Payson’s (a tribute to Mets co-founder and former majority owner Joan Whitney Payson) will be a 7,000-square-foot members-only club just behind the right/midfield warning lane, where the Mets have the outfield fences shifted inward by eight feet in the off-season.
The team appears to have had little trouble selling the seating inventory within the new 100-seat section, which is priced at $19,000-$25,000 per membership for the season (depending on proximity to the field and selling between 25-40). Members” with terms of two, four and six years). Call it the Mets version of the Yankees’ upscale Legends seats—but with considerably more conciseness. “We’re basically sold out,” said new Mets SVP/Corporate Partnerships Brenden Mallette. “There are still a few places left.”
Because this new spot represents the high-end of club seating at Citi Field, the expensive leather seats each come with a flat-screen, an all-inclusive package that includes parking, beer, wine, an “elevated dining experience,” and concierge services includes. It is designed as a kind of speakeasy.
Equally important to me is the sponsor, which is the first sign of GM’s commercial presence at Citi Field that I can recall since the stadium opened in 2009. In addition to the new club, the deal includes the integration of the Cadillac brand into the new space, some team-controlled media and team rights in the luxury cars category for the local Cadillac dealer association.
“This is a premium space that we really wanted a premium brand for,” Mallette said. “Overall, we are investing again in the stadium as part of a larger investment in the fan experience. And for Cadillac, this club will embody a lot of history, nostalgia and tradition.”
Someone at Cadillac has to like the neighborhood. The automaker also has a major sponsorship at the nearby US (Tennis) Open.
Multiple industry sources tell me that Excel Sports Management has signed an exclusive agency agreement to sell the Dodgers’ promotional patch, which is expected to be one of the most lucrative in MLB.
Field naming rights at Dodger Stadium have been on the market sporadically for some time, but since such a large segment of the public is accustomed to naming the ballpark by its original and 61-year-old nameplate, I believe that the 4×4 inch billboard will be the more effective marketing asset.
Excel, which did not return calls for comment, recently sold a patch for the Angels to Foundation Building Materials. Excel also represented MassMutual for its patch deal with the Red Sox, a 10-year deal that remains by far the largest in the league at around $170 million, with performance incentives pushing the value to $20 million per year or up to $200 million in total.
Excel ousted Sportfive, which had been selling the Dodgers’ patch and field naming rights since early last year.
Ad inventory for TV coverage of the NCAA tournament on the CBS and Turner networks, as well as the March Madness Live streaming platform, has all but sold out, reports my colleague Michael Smith. Scotiabank will remain title sponsor of the Concacaf Champions League for another season but will no longer hold the title when the event expands its field in 2024, reports SBJ’s Alex Silverman. Nike is the premier footwear and jersey supplier for teams in the NCAA women’s tournament, while Nike and its subsidiary Jordan are outfitting 40 men’s teams this year, improving by one from last year’s 39 teams to increase the total number of teams sponsored in 2019 achieve, notes SBJ’s Na’Andre Emerson. SBJ this week announced the 95 nominees for the 16th Annual Sports Business Awards. Ready for Sponsor of the Year: Ally, Anheuser-Busch, Diageo North America, MGM Resorts, Nissan and T-Mobile US For Best in Agency Creativity and Innovation and Best in Property Consulting, Sales and Client Services nominees, click here. SBJ Atlas recruited a new data partner this week, reaching out to Silicon Valley-based AI data specialists Hive to help evaluate in-venue and network sponsorship activations. Hive’s new AI-powered image recognition solution will enable SBJ Atlas clients to view sponsorship activations and develop clearer sponsorship strategies and right-sized deals in the esports marketplace. For more information, see the SBJ Atlas and request a demo.