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Global Icon and MLB Star Shohei Ohtani Sets New Record for Brand Endorsements
Major League Baseball sponsorships increase 8% year-over-year
The MLB 2022 Marketing Partnerships Report analyzes brand partnerships across the league, teams, and individual players during the 2022 season. The report found that MLB secured 3,350 sponsorships this year (an 8% increase YoY) and its teams averaged 108 sponsorships each–more than the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLS.
“MLB and its teams have continued to lean heavily into initiatives that provide brands with innovative ways to expand consumer reach,” said Bob Lynch, founder and CEO of SponsorUnited. “The new streaming rights deal with Apple, virtual signage, teams further digitizing stadium signage, and jersey patches are just a few of many examples of how they’re bringing baseball brand partnerships into the future.”
The report also found:
Shohei Ohtani “Shotime” is the most marketable MLB player in recent history
The Los Angeles Angels hitter/pitcher phenomenon totaled 17 brand endorsements in 2022, breaking Aaron Judge’s record of 13 endorsements in 2021. Shotime tripled his endorsement revenue after becoming the first player to appear on the covers of GQ, Time, Sports Illustrated, and MLB The Show in a six-month span. The reigning AL MVP also attracted 22 Japanese brands to Angel Stadium, the most of any MLB ballpark.
The Cincinnati Reds lead the league in sponsorships for the third consecutive year
With 200 brand deals this year, the Cincinnati Reds continues to be the most sponsored MLB team for the third year in a row. The team’s largest sponsors include Kroger, PNC Bank, altafiber and TriHealth. The New York Yankees take the #2 spot with approximately 170 deals–climbing from #4 in 2021–while the Boston Red Sox land at #3 with more than 150 sponsorships.
StubHub and New Era are the leading sponsors of the official league
As long-time official league partners, StubHub and New Era have representation at stadiums for each of the 30 MLB teams. The top non-league partners, with more than 10 deals across various teams, include State Farm, Coca-Cola, Progressive, Chick-fil-A and Toyota.
Digital advertising takes center stage on outfield walls while static signage dips
From 2021 to 2022 YoY, MLB saw an increase in demand for digital signage within baseball parks. Home run territory became a hot commodity for advertisers seeking clearer, more creative messaging through LED technology. The number of brands “going digital” grew by 36%–led by the Food and Alcohol categories–while static signage decreased 23%. Digital ads in the mid-upper outfield grew by 53%, followed by ads on the video board at 14%.
MLB ramps up brand deals with CBD companies
Following MLB’s announcement in June allowing teams to seek CBD sponsorships, CBD inquiries increased 9x versus the month before (May 2022). According to SponsorUnited, more than 150 CBD brands were searched within the platform, cbdMD being the top search (with 13 current sponsorships).