BRANDING EXPERTISE EARNS MURPHY MLB MARKETING SLOT

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Gregory Murphy, Major League Baseball's designated marketing chief, steps up to the plate as a complete rookie in the game.

Mr. Murphy has never held a job in sports marketing; he's a food guy. In the 1970s, he marketed coffee for General Foods Corp. and beverages for PepsiCo. In the '80s, he helped invent fat-free pastries for Entenmann's and has his name on the patents to prove it. As president-CEO of Kraft Foods Bakeries Cos., a job he recently left, Mr. Murphy more than doubled revenues during an eight-year period to $1.5 billion.

BRAND BUILDER

But it's precisely Mr. Murphy's background in building brands and entities like Lender's bagels, Maxwell House coffee and Oroweat baked goods that has brought him the challenge of reviving MLB's weathered brand. Mr. Murphy brings the kind of experience and outsider's point of view that stodgy old baseball hopes to benefit from.

"Looking in a broad sense at what I bring to baseball, I have experience in and an understanding of branding and a consumer's relationship with brands," said Mr. Murphy, 47, who last week was named president-CEO of Major League Baseball Enterprises, the restructured Major League Baseball Properties.

Mr. Murphy said he doesn't underestimate the challenge of restoring the faith of a legion of disenfranchised fans, but is encouraged they care enough to feel disillusioned. He said youth marketing is of utmost concern, but his four general objectives are to increase revenue, ratings, attendance and franchise values.

An integrated marketing approach is expected from MLB Enterprises, which will house four divisions: communications, to oversee ads, broadcasting, film and publishing; consumer products; promotions and corporate sponsorship; and international.

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