Last Wednesday, as thunder boomed and rain poured over Yankee Stadium, groundskeepers rolled out a tarp to protect the dirt infield. Standard practice, perhaps, but this tarp was in fact a giant branded slice of Glad wrap.
The delay-filled day kept the Yankees and Detroit Tigers off the field for over four hours in a double-header. Fans and players were miserable. Glad, meanwhile, savored every minute of their captive audience.
While it's unclear how much Glad paid for the approximately 170 square-foot infield cover, branded tarps are baseball's newest revenue stream, with major-market teams like the Yankees and Chicago Cubs striking deals that spread messaging during the most dreaded period of any baseball game: rain delays.
"It's a novel idea," said Michael Neuman, a managing partner of Scout Sports and Entertainment. "It's the largest piece of real estate you can possibly buy in a stadium."
The Cubs in 2015 unveiled a silver rain tarp with the logo for Reynolds Wrap, the brand marketed by Reynolds Consumer Products in Lincolnshire, Ill. And last Thursday, the Washington Nationals showed off their new tarp, a Skittles-branded sheet with the candy's catchphrase: "Taste the Rainbow."
"If raindrops were Skittles, this wouldn't be that bad," the tarp reads.
The key, Neuman said, is brands having a sense of humor about the delays. Fans are understandably annoyed when the tarp comes out. It's up to these brands to do something clever -- and, ideally, somehow related -- like touting the efficacy of a product, seen by L.L. Bean's tarp at Fenway Park.
Check out some tarps below:
Peep the new tarp. 👀 pic.twitter.com/x2qfP7NqHq— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) July 21, 2017