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MLB and MLBPA strike player marketing deal

League acquires group player rights from union’s MLB Players, Inc business arm for sponsor usage.

2 June 2023 Ed Dixon

Getty Images

  • Agreement designed to increase player rights usage through streamlined process for third party partnerships
  • Sponsors previously had to negotiate separate agreements with the league and union to have same rights

Major League Baseball (MLB) has acquired group player rights from MLB Players, Inc, the business arm of the league’s players’ association (MLBPA), in a new agreement designed to increase and streamline player marketing.

The arrangement gives MLB the right to grant league partners and advertisers the use of players in groups for national ads and promotions. It also aims to boost player rights usage through a more streamlined process for third party partnerships.

Previously, sponsors would have to negotiate separate agreements with MLB and MLBPA to have the same rights.

“MLB players are outstanding brand ambassadors for our partners with talent and personality that is undeniable,” said Noah Garden, MLB chief revenue officer.

“This exciting new partnership with MLB Players, Inc will lead to increased national visibility for our outstanding collection of players. We are excited that this new arrangement will foster more opportunities to showcase them on a national and international basis.”

Evan Kaplan, managing director of MLB Players, Inc, added: “Baseball is growing its ranks with young emerging national and international superstars and future hall of famers whose star quality will appeal to brands as they develop future marketing campaigns.

“The relationship was created to put players at the forefront of MLB partnerships and to simplify the process for brands to work with both organisations.”

SportsPro says…

MLB has increasingly struggled to market its major stars. Mike Trout is one of the best players in the league and will likely go on to make the hall of fame. But, despite being in a major media market, the Los Angeles Angels star’s profile does not match his status on the field.

While this deal will not immediately fix that problem it will allow MLB to put its athletes more front and centre in any campaign.

As last year’s lockout proved, everything when it comes to league-player relations is hard-fought. However, what this agreement does is streamline a process that was previously more complex than it needed to be, which can only be a good thing for MLB and its biggest names.

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