The eight-team playoffs begin Oct. 3, with two division series in both the National League and American League. The respective league championships start Oct. 10, and the World Series begins Oct. 21.
Significant online ad buy
The campaign was created by Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann Erickson, New York, and the execution includes TV, print, radio and internet. An MLB spokeswoman said the league for the first time was making a significant online investment, using 12% of the buys to advertise on ESPN.com, AOL.com, NYTimes.com, comedycentral.com and clearchannel.com. The league did not have online buys last year.
The playoffs will be televised by Fox and ESPN.
The campaign will be supported by an extensive cable schedule. MLB is integrating the campaign into all postseason marketing efforts, including licensing, productions, sponsorship, MLB.com, international and broadcasting. Corporate sponsor Anheuser-Busch will also be distributing 1 million beverage coasters with the likeness of former Los Angeles Dodgers manager and baseball ambassador Tommy Lasorda.
Mr. Lasorda is the spokesman for the campaign. Of the three TV spots produced by McCann, one features a humorous look at the "wanting to run and hide" feeling that some fans experience when their team does not make the playoffs. Mr. Lasorda says in the spot, '"Real fans don't hide in October. They celebrate it!"
The tagline reads, "I live for this. You live for this. The world lives for this!"
Once again Major League Baseball has been blessed by big-market teams making the playoffs and strong storylines. As of this morning, all four American League teams were set and included the New York Yankees (the top television market in the country), Oakland Athletics (6th), Detroit Tigers (11th) and Minnesota Twins (15th). The Tigers are a compelling story -- the team hasn't made the playoffs in 19 years and last year lost 91 games.
Only one team in the National League was set, after the New York Mets clinched their division earlier this month. The remaining three playoff teams from the National League will come from a combination of the Los Angeles Dodgers (second-largest TV market), Philadelphia Phillies (4th), Houston Astros (10th), St. Louis Cardinals (21st) and San Diego Padres (26th).
Storylines in the National League include the Mets making the playoffs for the first time since 2000 but losing their No. 1 pitcher, Pedro Martinez, to injury earlier this week; the Phillies vying for their first playoff berth since 1993; and the Cardinals desperately trying to hang on to win the National League Central division, where they owned an 8 1/2 game lead last week and enter the final weekend of play just a half game up on Houston.