Expect advertising logos on MLB uniforms within three years. Such was the buzz among the marketing cognoscenti at last week’s MLB All-Star Game in Cleveland. A handful of MLB teams have already reached out to marketing agencies for evaluations and pricing estimates for the proposed new marketing inventory.
There’s already considerable interest across MLB, due in part to the success NBA teams have had in selling ad patches (an average of $7 million per year for each team, according to Navigate Research) to new sponsors in nontraditional categories. However, the MLB Players Association would have to approve a uniform patch as part of the next CBA, which would start in the 2022 season. It took the NBA more than three years to work through the complexities leading up to its ad patches, which debuted during the 2017-18 season.
“We’re examining the patch, but clearly we have things to work through first,” said Noah Garden, MLB executive vice president of business and sales. “I’d say it’s inevitable down the road, but certainly not immediate. This is something that requires a fairly long runway. There are lots of things to take into consideration, but I think we will get there.”
The math is intriguing, as there are 82 games in an NBA regular season compared to MLB’s 162-game schedule. Baseball also has far more static TV shots than the NBA, which should allow more “exposure opportunities.” Still, Kyle Folts, Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment’s vice president of insights, said it would be a fallacy to conclude that MLB ad patches should be worth twice as much as NBA uniform advertising. VWS&E has been assessing the potential market for a year after several MLB teams inquired.