Marketing Among Baseball Players
Baseball is one of the most well attended and well loved sports in the United States. Even newspaper reports recording the lowest MLB attendance do not even compare to the highest attendance in other sports such as the NBA. Consequently, one is left to wonder whether there is a need for personal marketing techniques among the baseball players. The answer to this question is a definite yes. Baseball players just like any other players need to market their services to the public, coaches and also to the baseball association. The paper shall look at an in depth analysis of how baseball players market themselves and some recommendations will also be given about aspects that need improvements.
How baseball players market themselves
The first major avenue that baseball players use to market themselves as sporting products is through product endorsements. Usually, players are approached by interested companies and then requested to endorse a certain product. This may be done by displaying the endorsement on television advertisements, on the cover/packaging of that particular product, through posters about the product or other media channels. (Howard, 2007)
It should be noted that many baseball players may not be as enthusiastic about endorsement deals as other players in the market. Usually, basketball players, golfers and tennis players are greatly associated with this form of advertising in comparison to base ball players. Despite this low turnout, a few players have exploited this avenue. For instance, a number of magazines such as “Sports Daily” have been targeting sports marketing within the country. They have explained just how some baseball players utilize television advertisement to make themselves known throughout the entire country. The latter magazine has given the name of the following baseball players as some of the most marketable baseball players in the country. They include:
- Sammy Sosa (Chicago Cubs)
- Alex Rodriguez (Texas Rangers)
- Derek Jeter (Yankees)
The latter player is one of the most respected sports marketers in baseball. This is partly as a result of his ability to secure long term deals with influential companies within the country. For instance, he managed to secure deals with Sporting Company Nike and also with Gatorade. Nike is well recognized in the process of promoting sports players and in this case baseball players because their products directly target sporting enthusiasts. Additionally, this company is highly successful thus implying that their ability to meet players prices is quite credible. (Howard, 2007)
The latter player (Jeter) has also secured deals with Fleet Bank and Armour Hot Dogs. These two companies indicate just how versatile baseball players are in terms of reaching a wide range of companies. Not only do these players go for endorsements in sports affiliated companies, but they also venture in other types of companies that may have nothing to do with sports such as the food sector or the banking industry. The reason behind such an approach is that baseball players are trying to reach a wide range of audiences through their endeavors. The majority of baseball sponsors actually come from non sport related fields. Additionally, many supporters and fans also come from other sectors of the economy. This is why it is favorable to use this line of thought while marketing oneself.
An example of one of the advertisements made by a baseball player was the Visa advertisement of 2004. In this advertisement, Yankees player Jeter is depicted as a baseball player who has wronged his team owner. The latter role was also played by the actual Yankees team owner. In this advertisement, the baseball player is asked just how he manages to go out all night but still play a good game of baseball. In response to this, the baseball player show his visa card and even opts to take the team owner out for a night out. When asked to comment about their use of the baseball player in their advertisement the Visa vice president Madam Silver claimed that the company had a keen eye for the kind of events or issues that are in season. Since baseball (and that particular baseball player) were highly respected, then Visa knew that they had a higher chance of getting the attention of their target market by appealing to them through such a well know player. Shown below is an image depicting the latter player
On the other hand, Jeter chose to participate in this advertisement because he understood the fact that he could get greater levels of exposure here rather than in other promotional strategies because the advertisement would be aired at the Emmy awards and in local television shows for a very long period. Additionally, ratings designed to measure the overall success of the advertisement also indicated that the process was highly successful. For instance, it was found that twenty six percent of the respondents who saw this advertisement liked it a lot. Fifteen percent of them also claimed that they liked it. This means that the advertisement was effective in getting the message across but most importantly for this baseball player; it was important in exposing him to the public eye. (Howard, 2007)
Most companies that use baseball players for their advertisements claim that these adverts are important in ensuring that the public can still generate excitement about the advertisement or that there should be a buzz surrounding the ad. However, in instances where this is overdone, then baseball players may not be able to create the image or change that they require. However, if done in moderation, then it can attract the attention of the general audience.
MLB has not been very enthusiastic about marketing its baseball players as other major league games in the United States. They were fond of complaining that their players require too much enumeration or that they were not good enough. In response to these attacks, then the baseball labor union has a talk with MLB management to inform them about the possibility of promoting baseball players. (Hallstrom, 2006)
In response to the agreement that they made with the association, the company decided that after the season it would promote their player’s capabilities through major campaigning. The campaign was dubbed I live for this. Through this avenue, it was possible for the MLB to market their baseball players as approachable individuals. In fact the baseball players have been accused of being too serious and that they do not come across as approachable. Consequently, the campaign was engineered to make them appear as though they are quite open minded and understanding about prevailing circumstances.
The latter group was able to reach a large number of people because statistics indicate that baseball is one of the sporting activities with the highest number of great players at any given season throughout the United States. Consequently, bringing this out was an important part of the program. On top of that, they asserted that the kinds of personalities that baseball players had was quite likeable and that they were wonderful people to be around. The following players highlight just how true these assertions are
- Henderson Rickey
- Eric Gange
- Barry Bonds
- Albert Pujols
- John Smoltz
All the latter players have a very wide list of admirers. These have been depicted by the kinds of stories that have been aired in most local news channels and other sporting channels. Usually, this is possible as result of the efforts made by the MLB to organize the viewing of these products. (Mc Eylea, 2008)
Some players use the names of their respective clubs to market themselves. In other words, as soon as they qualify to play for a certain well known team then they market themselves as the faces representing those games. One such example is the team captain of the Yankees. This player has become one of the well known players owing to the fact that he uses his affiliation to the Yankees to inform the public about his existence.
The latter approach is quite important in the world of baseball because failure to use it may result in very poor exposure for a player. Additionally, when players affiliate themselves to baseball clubs that have been performing poorly, then they may ruin their marketing strategy. A good example of such a club is the Expos. The expos has not been doing well over the past season owing to the fact that their management has been trying to relocate them to other parts of the country. In fact, records show that players within this club have not been paid well because the club lost close to thirty million dollars because of their failure to relocate. Players who associate themselves with such a club are bound to ruin their overall image.
Because of the level of modesty that is prevalent in the MLB, one cannot ignore the fact that this is one of the most essential marketing tools in the sports. Many players opt for this alternative because public relations offers certain features that cannot be found in other sport marketing activities. First and foremost, through public relations, the public can learn all about a player’s history rather than just a particular aspect about them. This is possible because when most sports magazines, newspapers or websites write about the good deeds that baseball players participated in, they are likely to add in certain comments about the career or the ability of those respective baseball players. . (Mc Eylea, 2008)
Public relations is an important marketing avenue because the public tends to believe it more than other direct forms. This is because a third party is giving commentaries about the community or social responsibility enacted by a player rather than the player merely talking about himself. The public usually assumes that an external party has higher chances of telling the truth in comparison to the particular player who may be making the comments on his own.
An example of how baseball players have marketed themselves using this avenue is though donations to scientific organizations. Baseball players from the Phillies have built for themselves reputations of giving back to the society by encouraging research conducted by ALS institute. It has been giving funds for their projects and this has generated a lot of positive enthusiasm for the public about this. Additionally, the latter players have taken part in specific endeavors with one of the most prominent personalities being Curt Schilling. This baseball player has shown his dedication to the research institute by making contributions to them even after transferring to other teams that did not have a contract with the latter institute.
Another good example of how baseball payers have marketed themselves in the field of public relations is through community programs such as the Inner Cities program. The purpose of this program is to assist in the rehabilitation of crime prone neighborhoods through the common bond of baseball. Usually, the neighborhoods chosen for such projects are those ones that have recorded very high levels of drug abuse, teen violence, gang violence and other societal vices. (CDM sports, 2008)
The result of the public relations campaigns have reflected very positively among members of the baseball association or the persons who took part in the program themselves. For instance, the latter mentioned program allowed baseball players the opportunity to showcase their positive side by creating a platform in which they could interact with the children. The children in that neighborhood were given items such as;
A follow up of the program also found that large numbers of them had embraced a positive aspect in life. For instance, some of them pursued their education and were able to complete college through baseball scholarships. As if this was not enough, a substantial number of them embraced lifestyle changes by living positively. Consequently, through these avenues, a number of baseball players were exposed to the public and most of them could now fit into the lifestyle of a well known player.
Direct marketing for scholarships
Because of the relative prevalence and fame of the baseball game, then a series of marketing agents have been created in order to encourage direct marketing to baseball coaches and auctions. Through this avenue, students can get college scholarships for baseball and thus begin a long and elaborate career in their respective sporting teams. Taking the example of a group known as Athletics scholarships; this company is important in laying out some of the important qualities that potential players willing to join the baseball association need to know before entering into those fields. For example, one has to tell coaches exactly what kind person they are and why they should be considered as potential members of a certain team.
There are a series of associations that are responsible for taking care of these obligations. The first one is the NCAA and the other is NAIA. Through the NCAA students have the potential to access close to six thousand scholarships through the program. Some of these scholarships may either be full scholarships or they may be partial ones depending on students’ qualification. (Athletic scholarships, 2008)
Most sports athletes are actually fond of using this approach nowadays. Most of them may write down details about themselves and their experience in baseball within their resumes. They eventually send this resumes to the concerned parties and those who happen to be in need of it can access it through the most favorable avenues.
Baseball players are more laid back in their approach to marketing themselves. However, this does not imply that they do not engage in the practice. Most players market themselves in less obvious methods such as public relations, MLB franchising and also through campaigns made by the MLB. However, there are still certain direct forms of marketing that entail advertisement. There are usually done through product endorsements. Additionally, some candidates interested in joining the MLB may market themselves directly by writing about their qualities and sending them to the respective coaches or associations.
Athletic scholarships, (2008): College Baseball Financial Aid Information, available at http://www.athleticsscholarships.net
Mc Eylea, J. (2008): Nate Kuhn of AZ clash over baseball, retrieved from
Available at http://www.freepressrelease.com
Howard, T. (2007): Baseball player’s endorsements, USA Today, Associate Press
CDM sports (2008): Major league Baseball players association and marketing, associate press
Hallstrom, D. (2006): Plans for marketing the game, Economic development report, 3, 47
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