Stephen Strasburg Makes His Mark On The Field And In Marketing, Merchandise

Strasburg merchandise on sale at the Nationals' Web site.June 9, 2010: First the numbers: Pitcher Stephen Strasburg, who was drafted No. 1 overall in 2009 by the Washington Nationals and then signed a four-year deal in excess of $15 million plus $7.5 million in bonus money, set a franchise single-game record with 14 strike outs against the Pittsburgh Pirates on June 8, pitching seven innings in his rookie debut en route to a 5-2 victory. There were more than 40,300 fans in attendance at Nationals Park, who enticed Strasburg to take a curtain call when the game was over.

Once the fifth inning was over, the game became official and Strasburg entered the record books as a Major League player. That's when merchandise went from pre-order to "now on sale," and the Nationals had an array of goods ready, from jerseys and T-shirts to mini-helmets and other items with No. 37 on them. Also for sale: tickets from the game, programs and baseball cards.

Can he top $10 million in endorsements sooner rather than later? The numbers look good.

Strasburg has been using a Nike Diamond Elite 1200 glove, he wears Nike cleats and the Nike Swoosh was visible on his under-jersey collar throughout the seven innings.

Likely suspects to garner the attention of his agent, Scott Boros, include such categories as energy drinks,  electronics, mobile phones and several potentials in food.  Sponsors at Nationals Park include Coca-Cola, Geico and PNC.

Strasburg autographed card on eBay.This season, his first since coming out of San Diego State, he went a combined 7-2 with a 1.30 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 55 1/3 innings for Double-A Harrisburg Senators and Triple-A Syracuse Sky Chiefs, both of which sold related merchandise at was described as a "brisk" rate, with T-shirts at $25 and jerseys at $150. The teams also are looking at other Strasburg merchandise such as baseball cards and bobble heads that can be used as promotions later this season.

Strasburg's debut was broadcast nationally through MLB.TV and on MLB Network. Locally, the game was shown on the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, which said that ad inventory was sold out at double the rates of previous Nationals games. Network executives said they anticipate similar jumps in rates whenever Strasburg pitches.

A Bowman 2010 Rookie Card getting $599.99 on eBay (pictured), but that was far behind the $16,403 that someone paid for a one-of-kind Bowman Chrome SuperFractor Strasburg card.

Strasburg's agent also represents Bryce Harper, the player the Nationals selected with the No. 1 overall draft pick earlier this week. The marketing push for him is still a year or away. Eventually, Strasburg and Harper could drive Nationals marketing for at least a decade.

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