Modern Marketing Brand Strategy MLB

Brands hope to score big during MLB All-Star week

By Max Simpson | Freelancer

July 18, 2022 | 8 min read

All-Star Week is one of Major League Baseball’s biggest annual events. It’s also an opportunity for brands to swing for the bleachers with new activations.

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T-Mobile has partnered with Pink’s Hot Dogs

The MLB All-Star Week holds considerable weight within the baseball community. One of the league’s premier events, it’s a week that’s filled with festivities, events and the who’s who of baseball.

In the midst of such excitement, it’s difficult to not notice the star power that’s being deployed by the league’s brand partners in their various activations.

Here’s a look inside some of the biggest brand activations during this year’s MLB All-Star Week:

New Era Cap

New Era is looking to turn heads with its All-Star Game activations.

The hat company hosted a slew of interactive activities for fans to take part in to kick off All-Star Weekend. On Saturday, fans could purchase All-Star Game apparel and also enter for a chance to win tickets to All-Star events by participating in Rocket Rally, an interactive home run hitting contest.

The brand also gave fans the opportunity to participate in meet-and-greets with former MLB player Vlad Guerrero Sr on Saturday morning and current Anaheim Angels pitcher Noah Syndergaard on Sunday night. Fans could chat with the players, take pictures and receive autographs. As an added incentive, any purchase of a New Era MLB cap allowed fans to move to the front of the line.

New Era will also outfit players during All-Star workouts, the Home Run Derby and the All-Star Game.

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Candy Digital

Throughout its tenure as the MLB’s official NFT ecosystem, Candy Digital has made it a point to connect with fans through personal touchpoints.

The company’s main recent strategy has been to create digital collectible tickets for season ticket holders across one-third of MLB teams. The company has also introduced digital collectible tickets that commemorate notable games – including the 50th anniversary of the Oakland A’s 1972 World Series win and the Mets’ retirement of Keith Hernandez’s number.

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“We asked ourselves: ‘What’s lacking right now in the market?,’” says Matt Novogratz, Candy Digital’s head of partnerships. “The answer was tickets. Fans want to save their ticket and hold on to their memories. It represents something cool as commemorative proof you were at the game.”

For All-Star Week, the company is cooking up activations surrounding the Home Run Derby and the All-Star Game.

In partnership with T-Mobile, Candy Digital will release four unique free tickets during the Home Run Derby, each of which will feature one of four previous Derby winners including Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Bryce Harper and Pete Alonso. Those collectibles are open to all fans in attendance who scan in using the MLB Ballpark App.

The NFT giant will double up on the offerings for the All-Star Game with a partnership of its own. When fans access its traditional digital tickets through the Ballpark App, they’ll receive a limited-edition digital collectible that showcases the American League (AL) and National League (NL) logos.

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Fans who bought their ticket using Mastercard will receive an enhanced, limited-edition Candy Digital card that features the signatures of the AL and NL starters.

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“We are here for the huge moments,” says Novogratz. “We want to reward fans for just being fans.”

Candy Digital aims to leverage its budding relationship with baseball fans. The company has praised both the MLB and its player’s association – the MLBPA – for being both forward-thinking and proactive throughout the partnership. The league has been bullish on NFTs, which has given Candy Digital the opportunity to interact with a diverse audience including crypto-heavy crowds, baseball card collectors and newcomers to the NFT space.

“We are not afraid to push the envelope for how we utilize new technology,” says Novogratz. “This is not a new behavior we’re tapping into – fans always want to express fandom. Rather, we are reimagining new ways for them to express it.”

T-Mobile

The iconic magenta brand is going all in for All-Star Week.

Known for delivering unparalleled access to America’s favorite pastime, the brand is back in a big way for its sponsored Home Run Derby with the T-Mobile 5G Batting Practice. After more than one million fans tuned in to last year’s batting practice, the brand is now ramping up the coverage of this year’s event. 5G roving cameras will be positioned throughout Dodger Stadium to capture the action leading up to the showdowns. Fans can get on-the-field views of players warming up and hear the commentary on the field. By tapping into their 5G phones, users can tune in on the MLB’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts.

Doubling down on the Home Run festivities, the cellular giant will continue to give back to fans through its T-Mobile Home Run Sweepstakes. Through its recent Coverage Beyond movement, which keeps customers connected on flights and in 210+ countries and destinations, the brand is choosing lucky entrants to experience a getaway for themselves. Along with 5G phones and a year of free T-Mobile service, winners have the opportunity to win multiple prizes including flyaway trips of fans’ choosing with $10,000 in credit toward T-Mobile TRAVEL, with one winner receiving the ultimate travel prize of $100,000 in travel credit.

“We think differently about sponsorships,” says Mike Sievert, T-Mobile’s chief executive. “We’re always looking for exciting ways to connect communities – not just our customers – more closely to the people and things they love most. And we’ve seen firsthand how much people love baseball.”

As for its LA-focused activations, the brand is pulling out all the stops.

Running from the weekend through the All-Star Game, T-Mobile teamed up with Pink’s Hot Dogs – a beloved restaurant in Hollywood – and rebranded it as ‘Magenta’s.’ In addition to its iconic Dinger Dogs, the restaurant will also be offering meet-and-greet opportunities with MLB players.

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T-Mobile will also be hosting multiple experiential opportunities at its T-Mobile Signature Store in Santa Monica. The activities on offer at the store will include a custom pitching cage, customized engravings of free 18” bats and more meet-and-greets with players.

Check out The Drum’s latest Deep Dive, The New Sports Marketing Playbook, and learn the tactics employed by the world’s biggest sports organizations and their star athletes to stay top of their game.

Modern Marketing Brand Strategy MLB

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