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High Heat: MLB, Nets Pitch $65 Million Ad Campaign

Major League Baseball and its television partners FOX and TBS Thursday will begin running celebrity-studded ads promoting the upcoming postseason, spending a record $65 million to remind fans that “there’s only one October.”

The campaign, which is the largest in Major League Baseball history, will feature FOX and TBS personalities for the first time ever including American Idol judge Randy Jackson; Jeff Foxworthy, host of Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader; Frank Caliendo (pictured), star of TBS’s Frank TV and FOX NFL Sunday’s comedic prognosticator; Bill Engvall of The Bill Engvall Show; Timothy Hutton, star of TBS’s new drama Leverage; and an animated Stewie from Family Guy.

In September, the campaign also will feature a prominent group of Major Leaguers as they try to earn a birth in postseason play in the midst of tight pennant races. Actor and avid baseball fan Rick Gonzalez (Old School, CW’s The Reaper) will continue to appear in spots throughout the remainder of the season.

“FOX and TBS are outstanding partners who are delivering some of their biggest stars to promote the excitement of postseason baseball with one cohesive message—There is Only One October,” Tim Brosnan, Major League Baseball’s executive vice president, business, said in a statement.

MLB and network officials said that by utilizing the same postseason advertising theme, the three entities have “created a campaign with a consistent message which celebrates the rich history and exciting moments of October baseball.”

In the ads, each celebrity is seen at a computer writing a blog entry about the excitement of October baseball in their own voice and style. Images of the celebrity are interspersed with great moments in Postseason history while the blog entry is narrated.

In one ad, Caliendo comically impersonates President Bush talking about if the Cubs are jinxed in the postseason while images of the infamous Game Six of the 2003 NLCS are shown. In another, Caliendo imitates sports broadcaster John Madden discussing the difference between the preseason and the postseason.

“It’s very cool to be associated with Major League Baseball,” Caliendo said in a statement. “My dad was a minor league player in the White Sox organization... and now I get to tell him I made it to the big leagues.”

Created by McCann Erickson with the support of MLB Productions, the campaign will appear both in-game and out-of-game on FOX and TBS, with extensive online, print and radio support to supplement the television creative.  The spots will be distributed to all of Major League Baseball’s international broadcast partners in English speaking countries as well as locally within broadcasts of the 30 MLB clubs.