Behind Coke, YouTube, Camping World, MLB Sponsor Spend Hits $892M In 2017
Wednesday, October 25, 2017 at 01:26PM in Camping World, Coca-Cola, MLB, MLB, YouTube, sports marketing

By Barry Janoff

October 25, 2017: Over the past month, MLB has not only been active on the field with pennant races, intense playoff games and the World Series, but off the field, as well, signing several new marketing deals to cap off what was an active and productive season.

MLB, in fact, has hit a record one-season mark, with sponsorship deals totaling a record $892 million in 2017, up 7.9% from $827 million in 2016 and up nearly $230 million from 2013.

The increase “easily beats the projected 4.1% increase in 2017 North American sponsorship spending and 4.3% increase in overall sports spending,” according to research and consulting firm ESP Properties, Chicago.

New deals this past season included Coca-Cola as the league’s official soft drink (replacing long-time partner Pepsi), Nathan’s Famous, Old Dominion Freight Line and 5-Hour Energy.

The league also extended and expanded its alliance with Church & Dwight, among others.

"The increase in spending was also driven by first-time presenting sponsorship alliances for the playoffs and World Series," including a multi-platform alliance with Camping World (ALCS and NLCS) and several of its divisions, Doosan (ALDS), T-Mobile (NLDS), W.B. Mason (presenting sponsor of replay review) and YouTube TV (World Series), according to the ESP Properties 2017 MLB Sponsorship Report.

MLB sponsorship has risen steadily over the past several years, from $663 million in 2013,  $695 million in 2014, $778 million in 2015 and $827 million in 2016.

The most-active brands aligned with MLB are led by New Era (94% of properties with a sponsor in the apparel category report a partnership with New Era), followed by StubHub (84%), Budweiser (71%), Majestic Athletic (71%), State Farm (68%), Topps (65%), Hankook Tires (61%), Coca-Cola (58%), Papa John’s (52%) and Geico (52%).

The top spenders by category were T-Mobile (telecom), Bud/Bud Light (beer), Coca-Cola (soft drink), Chevrolet (automotive), Nike (sports footwear, apparel, equipment), Bank of America (banking), MasterCard (credit cards), StubHub (ticketing), Gillette (personal care) and State Farm (insurance).

Retail is by far the most active category sponsoring MLB. Retailers are 5.1 times more likely to sponsor MLB than the average of all sponsors, according to ESP Properties.

Automotive and QSR tie as the second most active categories (3.8), while insurance and food tie for third (3.5).

They are followed by medical (3.3), sports footwear/apparel/equipment (3.), beer (2.9), auto aftermarket (2.5) and building and home (2.4).

By comparison, MLB ranks second among the Big Four pro sports in the U.S., behind the NFL ($1.2 billion) but ahead of the NBA ($880 million) and NHL ($505 million), per ESP Properties.

Worldwide sponsorship spend in motorsports topped $5.3 billion last year, golf was at $1.7 billion and tennis was at $739 million, per ESP Properties.

According to research firm Statista, which provides information to companies and universities around the world, global sponsorship spend on sports topped a category record $63 billion in 2017.

YouTube TV Now Presenting Sponsor For World Series

Camping World Pitches Marketing Tent With MLB

MLB Pops Open Coca-Cola Deal

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