Sponsor Insights

Batter Up, Brands: MLB Jersey Patch Deals are Changing the Game for Sponsors

While it’s been just two weeks since Opening Day–the first since the MLB approved sponsors on uniforms–we’ve already seen 8 jersey patch deals activated, with the latest, between the New York Mets and NewYork-Presbyterian, having debuted last week. Eight different categories have bought MLB jersey patches thus far–and with 22 more jersey patch opportunities open, here’s a rundown of which brands, categories, and teams have inked a deal, and which categories lead other major pro sports leagues in buying this asset.

Of the eight current MLB jersey patch deals, seven are local brands headquartered in each team’s respective market. The only team without a local partner is the San Diego Padres, which was the first ever to sign such a partnership–with Motorola–last April. 

Another interesting aspect of the MLB jersey patch trend is the placement of the patches on the uniforms. The sleeve on which the patch is worn depends on whether the player is a right-handed or left-handed batter, ensuring that the patch is visible to the centerfield cameras with the prime shot of the at-bat. This attention to detail highlights the strategic approach teams are taking to maximize the visibility of their sponsors and deliver value to their partners.

There are 3 other Major Pro Sports leagues that allow uniform sponsors during the regular season: MLS and the NBA with a primary jersey patch, and the NHL with helmet signage. Financial (23%), Technology (15%), Healthcare (10%), Auto (6%) and Insurance (6%) lead the list of categories buying these assets within these leagues. So far in MLB, one Healthcare brand, (NewYork-Presbyterian) and one Financial brand (MassMutual) have a jersey patch deal–so will Technology, Auto, and Insurance follow suit? Or will the league entice other categories–like CBD, whose sponsorships the league approved last June–to leverage this high-profile asset? (Speaking of, the Chicago Cubs signed a deal with MYND DRINKS last week–marking the first CBD team deal within MLB.) Time will tell this season, as more deals are sure to be announced imminently.  

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