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Sponsorship in Major League Baseball, 2019

Central and venue naming rights deals in Major League Baseball.

SportBusiness Sponsorship has divided Major League Baseball’s central portfolio into five main tiers based on rights-fee valuations of between $1m and $50m per year.

The tiers and valuations were determined by SportBusiness Sponsorship research in collaboration with sports agency sources in the US.

The Official Uniform Supplier agreement with Majestic is a single-deal outlier from the main five tiers, and valued at about $55m per year. The brand has been supplying kit to the league since 2005.

Next season, Nike will takeover as the Official Uniform and Footwear Supplier to MLB for ten years, from 2020 to 2029. Nike is the current base-layer products supplier, alongside Majestic, in a deal strongly skewed towards licensing rights.

Rival company Under Armour had originally agreed a deal for the MLB’s kit supplier rights over the same duration in December 2016.

The financially-troubled sports brand gave up the rights in May 2018, leaving the supplier position open to Nike, which will now brand on-field uniforms, base-layer products, game-day outerwear and all training apparel of all clubs. Nike will also receive promotional activations across MLB media assets – MLB Network, MLB Social and MLB.com.

Other notable deals include MGM Resorts International’s $10m-per-season agreement, signed in November 2018, as the first Official Gaming partner of MLB, as well as the title sponsor for the MLB series opener in Japan.

The casino brand will also look to form partnerships with individual clubs – a common trend for many MLB central sponsors.

 

 

Across the US and Canada, 21 out of the 30 MLB stadiums have naming rights attached to them. In comparison, all 29 NBA venues (the LA Clippers and LA Lakers share the same arena) and 25 out of 30 NFL stadiums have naming rights deals attached.

Citigroup’s 20-year agreement with the New York Mets for Citi Field, worth a total value of $400m, from 2009 to 2029, or $20m per season, is the biggest naming rights deal in MLB.

In second place, SunTrust and the Atlanta Braves agreed a 25-year deal worth $250m, or $10m per year, for SunTrust Park, from 2017 to 2042. This is closely followed by the San Francisco Giants’ deal with Oracle, which is worth at least $200m over 20 years.

 

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