New MLB Pact With Hankook Tire Driven By Marketing, Activation, Brand Awareness
Wednesday, March 28, 2018 at 11:57AM
NYSportsJournalism.com in Hankook Tire, MLB, MLB, Opening Day, sports marketing

By Barry Janoff

March 28, 2018: With Opening Day one day away, MLB continues to swing for the fences in new marketing deals.

MLB has signed a multi-year pact that names Hankook Tire the ‘official tire of MLB’ in the U.S. and Korea.

Hankook replaces Falken Tires in the category, which signed a two-year deal in 2016.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Hankook has previously made inroads into baseball, including local marketing and in-stadium signage with some 26 MLB clubs.

The tire company has had an on-going campaign generically tied to baseball, the “Great Catch Rebate.”

Last year, Hankook partnered with The Sporting News for a World Series-themed sweeps.

The alliance is part of Hankook’s strategy to build brand awareness in the U.S. and well as internationally.

The company recently began production at its first manufacturing plant in North America, located in Clarksville, Tenn.

Hankook Tire said it would support the new alliance across MLB media assets, including MLB Network, digital platforms and in MLB ballparks during such jewel events as the All-Star Game, using MLB marks in marketing, giveaways, consumer promotion and events.

Hankook Tire said it is developing MLB-themed creative to run in its multi-media advertising, “as well as a retail marketing campaign that would extend its MLB footprint beyond the ballparks and media.”

The company did not indicate whether MLB players would be used in campaigns.

The brand is also planning virtual ads behind home plate during national broadcasts of post-season games including the League Championship Series and World Series presented by YouTube TV.

“Hankook Tire brings a real passion for baseball and a comprehensive vision to their marketing around our league, teams, and players in the U.S. and beyond,” Noah Garden, evp-commerce for MLB, said in a statement.

“As MLB continues to grow our international activities and events, Hankook Tire demonstrates a new model for MLB partners to be able to achieve their goals of reaching millions of baseball fans not only in the U.S. but around the world.”

Hankook has worked with ESPN for several years on MLB telecasts.

This season, ESPN and ESPN Deportes will televise MLB regular-season games in Puerto Rico and Mexico, including April 18 when the Minnesota Twins face the Cleveland Indians in Hiram Bithorn Stadium, San Juan, Puerto Rico, during a special edition of ESPN’s Wednesday Night Baseball presented by Hankook Tire.

Hankook Tire joins Barbasol, Kingsford, Mitel, Netspend, Snapple and Supercuts as the seventh MLB sponsor that has launched an official partnership with MLB since January.

"Hankook Tire demonstrates a new model for MLB partners to be able to achieve their goals of reaching millions of baseball fans in the U.S. and around the world.”

MLB has also expanded its alliance with YouTube TV and signed with Facebook to air games exclusively on Facebook Watch.

Among other sports sponsorships, Hankook has a global deal with Real Madrid and is an official partner with the UEFA Europa League and the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters racing circuit.

"Through the partnership, Hankook Tire will use MLB property in marketing activities, giveaways, consumer promotion and events," according to MLB and Hankook. "The company will also engage U.S. consumers through virtual advertisements behind home plate during national broadcasts of post-season games including the League Championship Series and World Series presented by YouTube TV."

According to  Hankook America president Hosung Suh, “Hankook Tire is proud to serve as the official tire of Major League Baseball. As Hankook Tire rapidly grows its presence in the American market, we are honored to connect with America’s favorite tradition — the dynamic game of baseball.”

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