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Why Joe Mauer Is Catching On With Marketers

December 21, 2009: Joe Mauer, the 2009 American League MVP and all-star catcher for the Minnesota Twins, is showing that great players from mid-size markets can score big deals. Mauer has nabbed his second deal in as many weeks since being named 2009 American League MVP. Anytime Fitness said that it has signed Mauer to an endorsement deal to represent the fitness club chain in multi-media marketing. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The pact comes less than a week after Sony unveiled Mauer as the cover athlete for MLB 10 The Show, which will be out in March for the PS3, PS2 and PSP to coincide with spring training. The deals both have come since Mauer signed with IMG in November to handle his marketing.

Anytime Fitness, which has more than 1,300 locations in 48 states and worldwide, said that Mauer would be featured in TV, print, radio, Internet and POP beginning Q1 of 2010, and also would write a monthly fitness blog for AnytimeFitness.com and AnytimeHealth.com.

Screenshot from Sony's 'MLB 10 The Show' featuring Joe Mauer on the cover and in the game. (Photo: Sony)"Successful franchises are a lot like championship baseball teams," Chuck Runyon, co-founder of Anytime Fitness, Hastings, Minn., said in a statement. "You need role players and everyone has to work together to achieve common goals. But it sure helps to have a superstar on your team. We're very pleased Anytime Fitness now has Joe Mauer on its roster."

According to Mauer, "I am very happy to be partnering with a great Minnesota company like Anytime Fitness. Their commitment to encouraging people to lead a healthy life and helping to showcase the benefits of physical fitness is something I am excited to be a part of."

Mauer led MLB with a .365 batting average this past season, winning his third batting title in four years and was named Hitter of the Year as part of MLB's This Year In Baseball Awards presented by State Farm. He was just the sixth catcher, and third not a member of the New York Yankees, to win the AL MVP award since 1931, joining Mickey Cochrane, Yogi Berra (who won it three times), Elston Howard, Thurman Munson (the latter three all Yankees) and Ivan Rodriguez. Mauer in 2009 also was selected to his third All-Star team in his sixth big league season.

Those stats also helped to earn him cover status with Sony, which said that among MLB 10 The Show's new features would be a "catcher mode," which enables users "to call the came like a catcher, to select pitches and be a field general."

Previous The Show cover athletes include Dustin Pedroia, Ryan Howard, David Wright and David Ortiz.

"It's a dream of every sports fan to be on the cover a video game, so to have the chance to work with a leading franchise like The Show is really a thrill," Mauer, who will appear in marketing for the videogame, said in a statement.

The catcher is expected to be at the forefront of Twins marketing efforts for 2010 as the team moves into a new stadium, Target Field.

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