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Advertising patches “inevitable” on MLB uniforms after NBA success

Major League Baseball (MLB) teams could soon be sporting advertising patches on their uniforms, according to Terry Lefton of the Sports Business Journal. Lefton has revealed that several leading MLB franchises have already kick-started discussions with advertising agencies for quotes on incorporating patches onto their uniforms. The MLB is looking enviously towards the National Basketball Association (NBA), which has successfully seen teams sport advertising patches during the last two seasons, creating lucrative additional revenue streams.

Three years away from advertising patches in the MLB?

It would appear the soonest MLB teams will be able to display advertising patches on their uniforms is the 2022 campaign. That’s because the MLB Players Association is required to ratify their usage when the next round of CBA negotiations take place. According to Noah Garden, executive vice president of business and sales at the MLB, advertising patches are “inevitable down the road” but they were “not immediate”. Garden added there was plenty to “take into consideration” but there was little doubt in his mind that MLB “will get there”.

Advertising and marketing campaigns are fast becoming the norm in MLB. You only have to look at this year’s hotly tipped favorites to win the American League Central, the Minnesota Twins, to see how successful fully-integrated campaigns can be. The Twins debuted their “This Is How We Baseball” campaign with a new look and feel to bring a different energy and perception to the team ahead of a season which had all-time-high expectations.

Advertising patches make sound commercial sense for the MLB

The Sports Business Journal believes that NBA teams are raking in as much as $7 million per season just for displaying an advertising patch on players’ jerseys at a 2.5”x2.5” size. In total, advertising revenue is up by a nine-figure sum in the NBA. When you consider that $7 million should be enough to cover a key player’s salary for a season, there is a clear commercial case for advertising patches in the MLB. Furthermore, advertising patches could prove doubly profitable in the MLB compared with the NBA.

That’s because the MLB has double the number of live broadcasts of games compared with the BA, giving brands greater exposure in the process. The biggest issue teams may face is incurring the wrath of “traditionalist” fans. Baseball fans pride themselves on the tradition of their sport. The addition of a large corporate brand on their team’s uniforms will almost certainly be bemoaned by a section of old-school fans. Nevertheless, tradition can only exist for so long; particularly when the stakes are higher than ever for the MLB and its teams.

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