Tickets.com announced that it has signed a multi-year contract extension with Major League Baseball's Boston Red Sox. With the regular season underway, the seven-time World Series Champions head into 2009 with enhanced ticketing functionality for their fans and their organization. The renewal encompasses Tickets.com products including ProVenueMobile, Tickets@Phone, Primary Ticket Auctions, and Automated Kiosks.
"We're proud of our company's long association with the Red Sox," said Larry Witherspoon, chief executive officer, Tickets.com. "I'm pleased that we have the opportunity to serve the club with website mobilization and other upgrades this year. Our goal is to help the franchise score wins in brand differentiation, fanbase expansion, and customer service so that they can concentrate all their efforts on playing a successful season."
The Red Sox will go live with ProVenueMobile this season, making them the third MLB franchise on the Tickets.com client roster to implement the product after the Oakland A's and Milwaukee Brewers. ProVenueMobile enables full-circle, branded ticket transactions to be made 24/7 from any mobile phone model directly through the client's mobilized website. To further maximize the potential of ProVenueMobile, the Boston Red Sox will simultaneously adopt the proprietary Tickets@Phone technology from Tickets.com into its suite of ticketing solutions. Tickets@Phone functionality allows customers to digitally receive unique bar-coded tickets on their mobile phone for a 100% mobile, secure, paperless--and green--ticket buying experience.
OtheÂ additions to the Boston Red Sox ticketing service agreement include enhanced functionality through Tickets.com technology via Automated Kiosks and Primary Ticket Auctions for select games. Both features increase the avenues through which patrons can acquire tickets. Automated Kiosks provide a convenient, easy way to get tickets without waiting in long box office lines; Auctions can serve as a fair means to acquire premium seats to key sold-out games. Other MLB teams employing Primary Auctions include the A's, the Cubs, the Giants and the Tigers.
"Extending our relationship with Tickets.com gives me total confidence that we will be providing state-of-the-art functionality for our fans," said Mike Dee, chief operating officer, Boston Red Sox. "With technology like ProVenueMobile, game attendees will have more options and ease of use than ever before."
Lest there be any doubt that the Los Angeles Dodgers see $$$ associated with Manny Ramirez from a marketing perspective, the club announced that starting this coming homestand, fans will have the opportunity to sit in â€śMannywood,â€ť an area named to honor (who else?) left-fielder Manny Ramirez.
According to the Dodgers, â€śField Level seats, fair of the foul pole in left field, will be sold in pairs with exclusive Mannywood T-Shirts for $99.â€ť As if we needed reminding, the Dodgers tell us Ramirez wears Number 99. Maybe we should just change his number to â€ś$$$â€ť. Hey, if Ted Turner could get away with putting â€śChannel 17â€ť on the back of Andy Messersmithâ€™s jersey, why not?
â€śMannywoodâ€ť (no word on whether dreadlocks are mandatory) will be the closest to the Dodgers left fielder; sections 51 and 53. Fans can order online at dodgers.com/mannywood (no peeing in the scoreboard, please). The limited edition Mannywood T-shirts are only available through the promotion.
To add to the marketing mayhem, on May 5, in celebration of Cinco de Mayo, a limited edition â€śYo estuve en Mannywoodâ€ť (â€śI was in Mannywoodâ€ť) T-shirt will be given to fans who purchase tickets in Mannywood.
No doubt, some baseball fans might see all of this as all a bit â€śmuy loco.â€ť After all, there will be a whole group of fans that will have paid nearly $100 dollars to sit in ostensibly the left-field bleachers and wear a $5 tee-shirt. How â€ścoolâ€ť is that? Welcome to La-La-Land.
It was announced yesterday that Ford has become the New York Yankees official Truck and Sports Utility Vehicle. The announcement was by the Tri-State Ford Dealers, expands Fordâ€™s relationship with the Yankees and gives the company new ways to reach fans at Yankee Stadium.
Financial terms were not released.
â€śThe New York Yankees and Ford are an integral part of American heritage,â€ť said Mark Paladino, Chairman of Tri-State Ford Dealer Association.Â â€śThe New York Yankees are one of the most successful franchises in the history of sports.Â As the Official Truck and SUV of the New York Yankees, we are building on that legacy of success through an all-encompassing sponsorship at Yankee Stadium.â€ť
When the Yankees opened its regular season at home on April 16, 2009, Yankee Stadium included Ford fixed and rotating signage and the designation as the Official Truck of the New York Yankees.Â Details of the sponsorship include:
Fixed, Static Left Field Billboard Advertisement
Home Plate Rotating Signage
HD Scoreboard Commercial Advertisement
Terrace Level LED Board Advertisements
Concourse Diorama Signs
Plaza Vehicle DisplaysÂ Â
Promotional Day with Home Plate Recognition Ceremony
Promotional Day Exposure in the Yankees Magazine and Yankees Yearbook
Consumer Sweepstakes and Sponsor Branding Programs
Showing that the Yankees brand can be slapped on nearly anything and it will sell, Turkey Hill Dairy, who, if you can believe this, is the â€śofficial ice cream of the New York Yankeesâ€ť has introduced two new Yankees-inspired ice cream flavors and a chance to win tickets to Yankees home games,
The new lineup additions -- Bronx Bombers Sundae and Pinstripe Brownie Blast -- are available wherever Turkey Hill products are sold throughout New York, New Jersey and Connecticut within the Yankees' home television territory. Bronx Bombers Sundae features Chocolate ice cream with chocolate cookie swirl and chocolate covered crunchies, while Pinstripe Brownie Blast features Vanilla ice cream with brownie batter swirl and brownie pieces. Each flavor features Turkey Hill Dairy's Light Recipe Ice Cream, which contains one third less fat and calories than Turkey Hill's Premium Ice Cream.
"The Yankees represent everything that's so magical about baseball and summertime, including their legendary fan base and amazing record of true sportsmanship," said Turkey Hill Dairy President Quintin Frey. "We're thrilled to support the team, the Yankees community, and everyone who is a Yankees fan."
To celebrate its status as the official ice cream of the New York Yankees, Turkey Hill is offering fans a chance to win free tickets to the Yankees' regular season home games. Each winner will receive four tickets to a game. To enter the ticket sweepstakes for a chance to win in the bi-weekly drawing, fans can look for the entry sticker on specially marked packages of Bronx Bombers Sundae or Pinstripe Brownie Blast ice cream and enter the code online. For a complete list of rules and alternative entry methods, please visit www.turkeyhill.com/Yankees.
Turkey Hill Dairy's partnership with the New York Yankees also benefits the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club located in the Southeast Bronx and serving youth throughout New York City. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Bronx Bombers Sundae and Pinstripe Brownie Blast will be donated to support the organization's mission to improve and enhance the quality of life for young people between the ages of six and 18. According to the organization's website (kipsbay.org), Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club strives to "assist young people realize and achieve their potential for growth and development and to attain the skills necessary to live and succeed in a complex world."
Bronx Bombers Sundae and Pinstripe Brownie Blast are available in grocery stores and at select locations at Yankee Stadium.
Major League Baseball Properties (MLBP) and Major League Baseball International (MLBI) today announced renewed sponsorship deals with four major partners, including Gillette, part of The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE: PG); InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) [LON: IHG, NYSE: IHG (ADRs)], owner of the InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites, Candlewood Suites and Hotel IndigoTM brands; PepsiCo International, a division of PepsiCo Inc (NYSE: PEP), in Latin America; and ESun in Taiwan. The extensions reinforce the successful relationships these companies have with baseball and, in each case, activation plans and fan enhancement programs have increased going forward.
Financial terms were not released for any of these sponsorship deals.
In addition, on the heels of the successful World Baseball Classic, MLBI has reached agreements for new sponsorships in Japan with Lawson, Lotte and Kowa, while Gillette has expanded its MLB sponsorship into Puerto Rico .
â€śThe strong commitment by these companies to join forces with baseball is a testament to the strength of our game and our business as part of the cultural fabric of society and its ability to touch so many people around the world,â€ť said Tim Brosnan, Major League Baseball Executive Vice President, Business. â€śIn addition, these deals make a powerful statement about baseballâ€™s strength in the marketplace, especially given the current economic climate.â€ť
The renewal with Gillette extends the longest running sponsorship association of any U.S. sports league into its ninth decade. As part of the new agreement, Gillette â€“ which has been an MLB sponsor since 1939 â€“ will continue to have exclusive rights in several brand categories, including menâ€™s and womenâ€™s pre and post wet/dry shaving products, antiperspirants/deodorants and menâ€™s skin care products. Gillette continues to be the presenting sponsor of the American League and National League Rookie of the Month Award which recognizes the top AL & NL rookie each month of the regular season. Gillette features New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter in several commercials for its premium Fusionâ„˘ line of blades and razors and Gillette Clinical Strength antiperspirants. Jeter is the latest in a long line of Major Leaguers who have endorsed Gillette including Hank Aaron, Whitey Ford, Mickey Mantle and Honus Wagner. Gillette ads featuring MLB players date back to as early as 1910. This year Gillette has expanded its agreement with MLBP to include the territory of Puerto Rico where Gillette recently ran a Spanish version of the Gillette Clinical Strength antiperspirant commercial in Puerto Rico during the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
As part of the renewal with IHG, Holiday Inn will become the â€śOfficial Partner of MLB Road Trips.â€ť A highlight of the sponsorship is a platform in which MLB fans can earn free tickets to any MLB game by staying at a Holiday Inn or Holiday Inn Express hotel. The renewal between MLBP and Holiday Inn continues the largest relationship in U.S. professional sports between a league property and a member of the hotel industry. Through this renewed business partnership with MLBP, Holiday Inn will be able to continue offering members of Priority ClubÂ® Rewards MLB tickets, merchandise, and unique once in a lifetime opportunities. This includes being able to redeem Priority Club Rewards points for VIP experiences at the All Star Game and World Series. Also in support of the â€śOfficial Partner of MLB Road Tripsâ€ť platform, registered guests who stay 8 nights at a Holiday Inn or Holiday Inn Express beginning in May can get 2 tickets to an MLB game throughout the 2009 or 2010 regular season. Holiday Inn will also sponsor a premier attraction at MLB All-Star FanFest , the interactive baseball theme park, which opens during Major League Baseball All-Star Week, taking place in St. Louis this year.
The renewal with Pepsi extends its designation throughout Latin America as the Official Soft Drink of Major League Baseball, and an Official Sponsor of MLB, the American League, National League, All-Star Game, Division Series, League Championship Series and World Series. The sponsorship in Latin America also extends to other Pepsi brands, including Diet Pepsi, Pepsi One, Mountain Dew, 7UP, Gatorade and other varieties.
In Asia, ESun, a leading financial services company, has renewed its official MLB sponsorship in Taiwan .
Lawson, one of Japan 's leading convenience store chains, will sponsor the MLB Pitch, Hit & Run Japan program scheduled for May in Sapporo . Lawson will activate the program in its 500 stores throughout the northern island of Hokkaido and will feature television, print and POP as part of the promotion. Additionally, Lawson will offer an MLB branded "healthy choice" bento (Japanese box lunch) at its stores starting in early May.
Lotte will use MLB marks to promote its popular Soh ice cream brand. The campaign is supported by television, print and in store POP and MLB team marks will be used on the packaging of 20 million containers. Convenience stores throughout Japan will offer branded POP that offers consumers the chance to win MLB branded premiums and a grand prize trip to the 2009 MLB All-Star Game in St. Louis .
Kowa, a leading producer of analgesic patches, will use its MLB rights in conjunction with advertising featuring two-time World Baseball Classic MVP and Red Sox righty Daisuke Matsuzaka. The program will make heavy use of television advertising but may also include in store POP.
Centurion Guards from Caesars Atlantic City have a new home at Citi Field as Harrah's Entertainment becomes a Mets signature partner. The new Caesars Club located at Citi Field opens officially on April 13.
When the recession first started to make its presence fully felt, I made mention that sponsorship deals would be the one aspect of sports business that would feel the greatest impact (see National Post article regarding the Nashville Predators). That has been true, but a side effect has been the creativity that clubs are engaging in, or rather, the continued breaking of taboos. Take the continued growth of sponsorship deals with casinos.
The New York Mets and Harrah's Entertainment today announced a multiyear marketing and promotional partnership in which the world's largest provider of branded casino entertainment becomes a Signature Partner at Citi Field. The comprehensive set of rights and benefits integrated across multiple properties and platforms includes an exclusive Caesars-branded club space and extensive in-park presence.
Financial terms were not released.
The destination presence for Harrah's will be the naming and branding rights to the Caesars Club, a 12,000-square foot, 900-capacity, fully enclosed, climate-controlled club with a wide selection of dining options located on the Excelsior Level at Citi Field.
"Harrah's Entertainment is extremely excited and proud to partner with the Mets in opening what promises to be a first-class facility for a storied franchise," said Dan Nita, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Caesars Atlantic City. "The inclusion of the Caesars Club is a wonderful opportunity to reach the loyal fan base of the Mets in New York and give them a taste of the new amenities we offer here in Atlantic City."
"Our new partnership with Harrah's provides new ways for us to connect with current and new fans through Harrah's ongoing communication with its customers," said Dave Howard, Executive Vice President, Business Operations, New York Mets. "We look forward to working with Harrah's to develop event, entertainment, and presence marketing programs at our new home at Citi Field."
Fans throughout the season will experience a variety of programming from offers to Harrah's owned casinos in Atlantic City to themed nights that bring simulate the experience of being at Harrah's and Caesars to the New York Metropolitan area. On opening night April 13 at Citi Field, the Caesars Club will welcome baseball fans by hosting a DJ, providing fans with a commemorative gift, along with providing opportunities to take photos with iconic Caesars personalities.
Harrah's has also signed on as the exclusive Casino partner for prominent in-venue signage at Citi Field, including presence atop Citi Field's left field roof, first and third base rotationals, and identification throughout the concourses.
Harrah's promotional rights extend to the Mets' minor league affiliates at Tradition Field (Port St. Lucie, Fla., home of Mets Spring Training and the St. Lucie Mets) and KeySpan Park (Coney Island, N.Y., home of the Brooklyn Cyclones).
Watch the sports business landscape closely. As more traditional sponsors drop due to the chilly economy, deals, such as this one with Harrahâ€™s, will continue to appear. The only thing that Harrahâ€™s didnâ€™t have in this deal was some actual form of gaming (note that "themed nights"). And donâ€™t kid yourself, if they could have had that aspect in the deal, they would have. As the pressure to retain revenues increase, the breaking of taboos will continue to errode for the league. Somewhere, Pete Rose is shaking his head.
With Opening Day officially arriving today, Majestic Athletic has announced that it is opening their first-ever retail store, directly across the street from Fenway Park.
According to the company, the Majestic Clubhouse Store, is designed to replicate a big league clubhouse and features player lockers, dugout benches and fencing, bat storage racks and other features. The Majestic store includes an MLB Authentic Collection section showcasing on-field Red Sox jerseys, jackets and shirts and other fanwear.
â€śWhen we decided to open a Majestic store, we wanted it to be a celebration of baseball. Our goal was to let fans experience Majesticâ€™s on-field apparel in a unique and fun atmosphereâ€ť said Majestic VP/GM Faust Capobianco.
Among products available are the newly updated Red Sox uniforms in both Authentic versions and Majesticâ€™s new MLB Replica Jerseys, The new replica features player name and numbers in official team fonts for the first time. Also available in a variety of colors is Majesticâ€™s Therma BaseTM Tech Fleece made famous in the 2007 dugout uniform check.
The Majestic Clubhouse Store is located at 17 Yawkey Way, directly across from Fenway Park. This marks Majesticâ€™s first venture into retail and is a partnership between Majestic and Twins Enterprises.
Audi's sponsorship deal with the Yankees is unique and marks a new revenue stream in The House That George Steinbrenner Built. (Image courtesy NY Post) (CLICK TO SEE IN LARGER VIEW)
The Taj Mahal that is new Yankee Stadium will remain â€śYankee Stadiumâ€ť, but for those that are visiting the Bronx Bomberâ€™s new digs, they will attest that its outer faĂ§ade is ruse masking a highly-tuned revenue making machine within its interior.
With an increase from 18 to 57 luxury suites, new Yankee Stadium sees whole sections with corporate naming rights attached, something completely absent from The House That Ruth Built.
From H&R Block to Budweiser; Delta Airlines to Mohegan Sun, the stadium is as much a tribute to corporate sponsors as it is to the Yankeesâ€™ storied past.
And thatâ€™s just the corporate sponsors that cover areas of the ballpark
While the Yankees declined to provide a complete list of sponsors, the scoreboard and outfield walls sees ads space for the likes of PepsiCo, AT&T, Casio, Metlife, Zales Jewelers, Toyota, Ford, and Hess to name a few.
The three-year sponsorship agreement is a first for Audi at the major league franchise level, and includes corporate signage, hospitality, and marketplace activation rights. The deal is a marriage of Audi of America and dealerships in the Tri-State area where approximately 20 percent of Audiâ€™s nationwide sales occur.
Despite the gains, Audi is not the first German luxury-car brand to come to mind for many Americans. So jumping at the opportunity presented when ailing GM didn't renew its deal, Audi inked a deal with the Yanks that will provide it with unusual opportunities to get its brand before millions of baseball fans, including:
* A members-only Audi Yankees Club perched overlooking the left-field lower deck featuring dark woods, the Audi logo on the doors, napkins and throughout the room
* The right to park an Audi in the vast Babe Ruth Plaza several times a season so fans can get an up-close and personal feel for the brand
* Signage both inside and outside the stadium.
"We can do a lot of hospitality for high-end clients, and dealers can do a lot of relationship marketing with existing customers," Scott Keogh, chief marketing officer for Audi of America, said of its Yankee Club. "Plus, the people who are in the lounge who are unaffiliated with Audi will be exposed to the branding."
With limited word count space for the Post article, hereâ€™s some additional details...
As for the signage, it includes the corporate name and logo on the faĂ§ade of the club, as well as traditional â€śbehind-the-plateâ€ť rolling advertisement that will appear at the bottom of the 5th inning during every game of the regular season.
Dealers in the Tri-State area have access to tickets (distribution has not yet been determined) where dealers have access to the club on game days for business entertainment purposes.
As to whether you will see television ads on YES with Derek Jeter or other Yankee players as pitchmen for Audi, that is not part of the agreement.
Finally, the Yankees and Audi would not disclose the financial teems of the deal. The annual figure is based on several sports business analystsâ€™ feedback, as well as general feedback from Audi of America. When factoring in the numerous in-stadium naming rights deals and sponsorship placement, new Yankee Stadium has struck some as scenes from a Mall.
The MLBPA's new store is dedicated to marketing the players. (Image courtesy MLBPA) (CLICK TO SEE IN LARGER VIEW)
With Marlon Anderson, J.J. Putz and Brian Schneider of the New York Mets and Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis of the Boston Red Sox in attendance, this was clearly not going to be an average store opening. But then, the store that opened Friday inside the new Citi Field is designed to be different. Welcome to the The Players Clubhouse: A Players Choice Store
With â€śMetsâ€ť clearly displayed throughout the store, the pile of tee-shirts on a large table with the names â€śWrightâ€ť and â€śRodriguezâ€ť displayed up-front marks the key difference.
While the â€śPlayers Choice Storeâ€ť has been part of several Team Stores throughout MLB for the last seven years, this marks the first store dedicated entirely to player-related merchandise licensed by the MLBAâ€™s Players Choice group licensing program. Deemed a â€śprototypeâ€ť it was developed by the MLB Players Association with staffing from Aramark in an effort to continue to market the players in Major League Baseball. The store features products from VF/Majestic, Nike, Twins, Topps, Upper Deck, WinCraft, Forever Collectibles, PhotoFile and Rawlings.
While any products that bear a playerâ€™s name on them garner an extra cut of the revenues that a non-player named product does, the store opening is not designed as an increased revenue effort.
â€śWorking together with clubs, and focusing on the players is the next logical step in the in marketing of the game,â€ť said Judy Heeter, Director of Business Affairs and Licensing for the Playersâ€™ Association. â€śItâ€™s is effective and what the fans want.â€ť
The deal at Citi Field was brokered between the MLBPA and the Mets, and will give the licensed manufacturers and the playersâ€™ union an opportunity to try new products and measure fan interest.
As to whether a store of this type will be coming to ballpark near you, Heeter says that is a very real possibility.
â€śIf we had known how much interest there would be with the launch of our Citi Field store, we probably would have done this seven years ago.â€ť
LISTEN TO MAURY BROWN DISCUSS THE NEW STORE OPENING ON MARKETPLACE