SBJ Unpacks: Business of MLB solid heading into World Series – Sports Business Journal

Tonight in Unpacks: MLB heads into the World Series on the heels of a record season for sales of licensed merchandise and corporate sponsorships. SBJ’s Terry Lefton looks at how some of the league sponsors will be activating around the Fall Classic.

Other headlines:
In today’s Morning Buzzcast, David Albright covers the WNBA continuing its business transformation process; the NCAA issuing new guidance for schools on NIL; and The Famous Group landing a new partner.
MLB CRO Noah Garden said today that the 2022 season, which started a week late due to the lockout, will finish with record sales for corporate sponsorship and licensed merchandise, notes SBJ’s Terry Lefton.
“We started at a time COVID was still a real concern in daily life, and ended with a September that was great across the board, with more fans involved with more teams for more time,” he said. Garden said corporate sales were up low double-digits, thanks to new sponsorships.
That includes a new deal with Constellation Brands for its Corona beer brand. Also, Capital One replaced Bank of America for banking and credit-card rights, and will also be presenting sponsor of the World Series. The bank also will be sponsoring orange rally towels in Houston and branded scarfs in Philadelphia.
Also new during the Fall Classic this year will be the league’s first CBD sponsor, Charlotte’s Web, receiving bullpen branding in both Houston and Philadelphia as a part of its recent MLB sponsorship.
On the consumer products side of things, Garden said it was a record year, tracking at high single-digit increases, even before the playoffs. “We’ve got two rabid fan bases buying now, our international business has been fantastic and some of the traditional brick-and-mortar retail has not only recovered, it’s healthy,” he said.
Other sponsor activations during the World Series include Mastercard bringing back its poignant “Stand Up to Cancer” moment, while AnheuserBusch will stage another “Hit It Here” promo.
Capital One, in its first season as an MLB sponsor, will be presenting sponsor of the World Series
With the World Series set to start tomorrow in Houston, SBJ covered a number of business angles around the Fall Classic:
MIAMI — Donald Trump today lashed out at the PGA Tour, reports SBJ’s Eric Prisbell. While playing in a LIV Golf pro-am ahead of its season finale, Trump said, “The PGA has been destroyed by the PGA.” He added that the Tour “should have embraced them (LIV) instead of fighting.”
Trump: “You’re not going to beat these people. These people have great spirit, they are phenomenal people and they have unlimited money.” He called the PGA Tour “very vulnerable.” The former president, speaking after playing the 17th hole at Trump National Doral, said there ultimately will be a “merger or something” between the two warring parties and that “plenty of other great players” will join LIV.
When asked if LIV is the future of golf, Trump after the round said, “I don’t know. Ultimately I think maybe something gets worked out. The Tour mishandled it so badly. The people at the top, something should happen with them. … Something could have been worked out very easily.”
Liberty Media and the Baupost Group hedge fund invested in The 33rd Team, the football analysis content company founded by former NFL team execs Mike Tannenbaum and Joe Banner, reports SBJ’s Ben Fischer.
To lead the newly expanded company, the executive duo that helped build MLB Network has reunited. Founding MLB Net President Tony Petitti joins The 33rd Team as co-CEO alongside Tannenbaum in the deal. He’s joined by new Chief Content Officer John Entz, whom Petitti hired in 2008 to help stand up the cable network and who later served as president of production at Fox Sports.
Petitti said of working with Tannenbaum and Banner: “We’re just big believers that we could take what they’ve been doing the last few years and professionalize it and add to it.” Petitti indicated he’d been looking for opportunities along with Liberty and Baupost, and was introduced to Tannenbaum by their mutual acquaintance Bill Parcells.
The 33rd Team currently has a roster of 44 football analysts and six experts in gambling/fantasy.
U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone said implementing the recommendations outlined in the Yates Report on abusive behavior and sexual misconduct is the “No. 1 priority for U.S. Soccer” today, notes SBJ’s Alex Silverman.
Speaking at SBJ’s Game Changers conference, Cone said, “Now we know where the changes need to be made, and now we’re working as steadfastly as we can to implement those changes. Whatever U.S. Soccer can change unilaterally, we’re changing right away. But many of the recommendations, we need cooperation and collaboration from other people, other organizational members. And so that’s going to take a little bit longer of a process.”
Also from the Game Changers event at MetLife StadiumWNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert talked about the growth of the league and getting women into more positions of influence throughout sports.
K.C. Current co-owner Angie Long stressed the importance of the NWSL championship in primetime, and what it will mean to have a stadium purpose-built for a women’s team.
The event wrapped up with the formal presentation of awards to this year’s Game Changers class in a memorable ceremony hosted by Ann Meyers Drysdale.
Click on the image to watch the full segment
The N.Y. Rangers and MSG reached a multiyear partnership making Monster Energy the official energy drink partner of the NHL team and arena, writes SBJ’s Alex Silverman. MSG Sports and MSG Entertainment negotiated the deal directly with Monster. Specific terms were not disclosed.
The arena will open a branded grab-and-go concession stand called the Monster Energy Bodega for all events. Monster, MSG Sports and MSG Entertainment will also provide financial assistance to independently owned bodegas throughout the tri-state area that are still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Monster gets dasher board signage during Rangers games and LED ribbon board signage during all events at the arena. Guests at select events will have the opportunity to sample Monster Energy products. Coca-Cola, which lost pouring rights at the arena to Pepsi in 2018, owns a 19.3% stake in Monster’s parent company.
In the latest SBJ Marketing newsletter, Terry Lefton examines:
SAP created this mockup of how some of the NHL Venue Metrics data could be presented
Are you or someone you know in the sports business industry running in the TCS New York City Marathon on Nov. 6? If so, contact Xavier Hunter at after the race with your time, a photo and a quick note about the experience to share with our readers.
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