This has been one of those considerations at the periphery for a while, with MLB reportedly asking permission from the players to have sponsored ad patches on uniforms back in June. For one reason or another, it didn’t happen during the 2020 season.
But that doesn’t mean it’s off the table, and it could be two spots for ads, not just one:
SCOOP from @sbjsbd's Terry Lefton:
MLB recently sent request for proposals to 10 or more sponsorship & marketing agencies, asking for input not only on pricing, value and suitability of a sleeve ad patch, but also for a batting helmet decal, sources sayhttps://t.co/abVTEAGCKj
— Mark J. Burns (@markjburns88) December 1, 2020
To be sure, we’re just talking about information at this point. The league wants to know what can be done, how it could look, and what it would pay. As a very general matter, I’m pretty laid back when it comes to baseball exploring possibilities, whether it’s this kind of thing or new rules or new events. It doesn’t hurt to do the research and have the conversations.
Other leagues – baseball over seas, the NBA here in the States – have done this kind of thing for a while now, and I suppose people get used to it. I haven’t loved the Nike swoosh on the Cubs pinstripes since that switch was made, so I’m probably more gunshy than most about the impact of adding additional sponsors to the sleeves and the batting helmet.
… but the world turns, man. When the pandemic hit and hurt revenues, it was just a reality that MLB owners would look for additional ways to supplement revenue, perhaps ways that they would’ve wanted anyway, and now have the opportunity to roll out.
Given the way advertising has been done at Wrigley Field – very smoothly, in my view – maybe I shouldn’t be too concerned. Maybe there’s a way to generate meaningful revenue while also not deeply annoying baseball fans (hey, what do you know, that’s what we try to do with advertising here at BN (thanks for not ad-blocking – I know it’s a tricky balance!)).