“The primary drivers [of the slow market] are economic uncertainty that seemingly everyone is dealing with, as well as the supply of player branding opportunities skyrocketing with MLS, NBA, NHL—helmets and jerseys—and now MLB all being sold simultaneously for the first time,” Balvanz said.
Balvanz estimates MLB jersey deals will range from a few million dollars per year for small market teams to up to $25 million or more for larger market teams. Those figures would rival lucrative stadium naming rights deals, underscoring the value perceived in ads that are close to the players. (The Angels do not currently have a stadium naming rights deal).
In baseball, the San Diego Padres (Motorola), Boston Red Sox (Mass Mutual) and Arizona Diamondbacks (Avnet) have announced jersey deals. The Cincinnati Reds (Kroger) and Houston Astros (Oxy Energy) are also nearing deals, Sports Business Journal reported this week.
According to Miller, the Angels made for an especially valuable property, employing two of the game’s hottest stars in outfielder Mike Trout and pitcher-outfielder Shohei Ohtani. “They have a lot of ingredients that we found were very interesting to brands,” Miller said. “And that’s why the Angels are going to be among the first quadrant of deals to get announced, and get a deal quicker than a lot of other teams.”
Foundation Building Materials, which distributes construction materials such as drywall to contractors, is hardly a household name and had done little brand marketing until the Angels deal, said Ruben Mendoza, CEO of the Santa Ana, California-based company. Baseball’s 2023 schedule, in which all teams will play one another in at least one series during the season, makes for “great exposure” for the company, which has 280 locations in the U.S. and Canada, and envisions “Foundation Building Materials nights” in big-league cities around the league. Its headquarters is a neighbor to the Angels’ base in Anaheim.
“I’m a big Major League Baseball fan, and it just makes good sense for us,” Mendoza said. “A lot of our contracting customers are Major League Baseball fans as well, so I think the exposure is great for us.”
Companies targeting contractors, such as Grainger, Fastenal and Home Depot, have also done sports marketing, Mendoza added, “so I think it’s becoming more and more important.”