“If you don’t want to be forgotten, as soon as you’re dead and rotten, write things worth reading, or do things worth writing.” –Benjamin Franklin
Excel Sports Management quietly won a highly competitive agency shootout to sell the Angels jersey publicity patch. While the 4 ½ x 4 ½ inch advertising patches won’t be on MLB sleeves until next season, the Angels patch has been particularly contested due to the huge appeal of Angels DH/P Shohei Ohtani in his native Japan.
The Angels patch is considered an industry barometer for the entire program, marking the first time MLB has sold jersey ads nationally, outside of apparel brands. Ohtani’s fame has made the club the most watched MLB team outside of North America. Now, the idea is that Japanese brands – used enough to mix business and sport that their names have been incorporated into team nicknames for decades (Nippon Ham-Fighters, anyone?) – will make the lining up to spend money on anything related to Ohtani.
So the question now is, what is a guy with Ohtani’s fame worth to a brand in Japan? And is the fact that Mike Trout, arguably still MLB’s most notable player, is also in an Angels uniform a factor? “Angels should get as much or more than anyone [MLB] team for their patch,” said a veteran of MLB sponsorship sales. “It looks like one of the biggest opportunities in North American sport.
There are a handful of teams with patch deals already completed or close to it. My colleague Erik Bacharach reported today that the Padres have signed Motorola for a patch, and sources tell me the club will receive around $10 million a year, which is remarkable for a team in one of the smaller MLB markets. The numbers we’ve heard floating around for any of these patch deals, or ongoing deals, continue to be in a higher range than what a team receives annually for ballpark naming rights deals.
Excel Properties manager Jason Miller would not comment on the assignment, although it was confirmed to SBJ by multiple sources. Excel has some strength in this market, having sold NBA jersey patches for the likes of the Celtics (Vistaprint), Bulls (Zenni), 76ers (Crypto.com), T’Wolves (Aura) and Hornets ( LendingTree).
With around 100 uniform branding opportunities currently on the market, we’re a little surprised that the extra supply doesn’t seem to have diminished demand from marketers. “Even though there are more of these than ever before, these are very intriguing and alluring properties for many marketers because ‘in uniform’ has been banned for so long,” said Randy Bernstein, CEO of Playfly Premier Partnerships, which is selling jersey patches and sleeve positions for the Fire in MLS, and the naming rights for the Real Salt Lake stadium. “The NBA was the first and it was really a Trojan horse for the rest of American professional sports,” he added.
Heritage pennant and banner company Winning Streak Sports, which held licenses of all major national professional and college sports properties, closed its doors last week and is selling its inventory and other assets after 24 years in business. activity, according to licensing industry sources.
Private equity firm Granite Bridge Partners has owned Winning Streak since 2016 and at one point was said to be the keystone to a planned rollout of licensed sports companies. Granite Bridge did not respond to an email seeking comment.
- Changes within financial services have left many in the industry struggling with the most basic questions about definitions and rights within what is, by and large, the largest category of sports sponsorship.
- Deloitte recently became the IOC’s 14th TOP Partner, and Timo Lumme, the IOC’s head of marketing, told my colleague Chris Smith that the Olympic governing body has no target for the size of its sponsor list. .
- Moving the USA Swimming Trials from Omaha to Indianapolis will provide new revenue opportunities for the NGB, and high on the list is a centennial sponsor program that will aim to partner with local businesses for longer-term commitments. run around the nine-day event.
- The energy drink battles are heating up as the NBA Playoffs begin, with BodyArmor and Gatorade both rolling out new creations, SBJ’s Austin Karp reports.
- Wendy’s will be the title sponsor of Beard Motorsports’ #62 entry with Noah Gragson this weekend at Talladega for the NASCAR Cup Series, marking the first time in about 20 years that the QSR has had its mark on a race car, notes SBJ’s Adam Stern. Wendy’s will have a pop-up restaurant in the infield.