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MBPT Spotlight: MLB All-Star Game Attracts More Major Marketers

Major League Baseball's All-Star Game each summer on Fox continues to draw a list of major advertisers, and this year's telecast on Tuesday, July 14 will again be a grand-slam attraction for marketers.

Heading into this weekend, the network's airing of the 86th annual All-Star Game from Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park is nearly sold out, with the remaining inventory held back for last-minute sales. A total of 10 MLB official sponsors will be advertising during the Fox broadcast of the game this year — T-Mobile, Anheuser-Busch, Pepsi, Gatorade, Procter & Gamble, Esurance, Maytag, Chevrolet, MasterCard and Draft Kings.

Three of those – Esurance, Maytag and Draft Kings – are new MLB sponsors and new to the telecast this year. Other first-time advertisers in the game telecast include Buffalo Wild Wings and Travelocity.

Fox is also touting the fact that for the first time ever on the network’s telecast of the All-Star Game, there will be a presenting sponsor: T-Mobile. Chevrolet is returning as presenting sponsor of the Fox pre-game and post-game shows. The network is also working with marketers on final on-air executions of some different types of advertising and integrations to take place live during the telecast.

Advertisers are paying an average $575,000 per 30-second commercial in the game telecasts this year, a little less than 5% higher per unit than for last year’s game.

Meanwhile two Procter & Gamble brands – Gillette and Head & Shoulders will be heavily involved in ESPN’s Monday night telecast of the annual Home Run Derby. Gillette is returning for the second year as Home Run Derby title sponsor, while Head & Shoulders has been added as a presenting sponsor.  The official title of the telecast will be Gillette Home Run Derby presented by Head & Shoulders.

Gillette, the official shaving products sponsor of MLB, is celebrating its 76th year partnering with the league, the longest relationship with a league in North American professional sports. Head & Shoulders has been MLB’s official shampoo since 2010.

Both brands will promote their products with commercials during the Home Run Derby telecast on ESPN, along with integrations during the broadcast and online. Both will also have activations inside the stadium.

During the home run competition, a portion of the seating in left field will be converted to the “Head & Shoulders Flake Free Zone” and incorporate a charitable component when players hit home runs into that area.

The All-Star Summer Pepsi Block Party returns for the second year. It will take place right outside the stadium and run three days (Sunday through Tuesday) leading up to the game. It will create a tailgate-like atmosphere outside the Red’s Great American Ball Park, and the event will feature live music from the Pepsi Music Series, along with food and interactive attractions. Among the Block Party sponsors will be official MLB sponsors Under Armour, Budweiser, Chevrolet and Draft Kings.

Pepsi, for the first time, will present the Pepsi Music Series in Cincinnati, which will include the Budweiser MLB All-Star Concert on Saturday night, July 11, featuring Ariana Grande. In addition to that concert, the Pepsi Music Series will also include musical performances at the stadium before and during the Home Run Derby, performances at the Pepsi Block Party and at other VIP closed venue events throughout the week.

Chevrolet will sponsor the All-Star Game MVP Award for the 11th consecutive year and the winner will be presented with the keys to a new Chevy car or truck. This year the MVP will get to choose from a Camaro convertible or the Midnight Edition Silverado.

Chevrolet will also sponsor the MLB All-Star Red Carpet Show that will air on MLB Network on July 14 beginning at 3 p.m. and will feature the All-Star players arriving at the stadium in assorted Chevy Corvettes and Silverados after parading through the streets of Cincinnati from their hotel.

During the festivities leading up to the game, Chevrolet will also be presenting sponsor of MLB’s “Largest Game of Catch,” a youth initiative aimed at setting the Guinness World Record for most kids playing a game of catch at the same time.

T-Mobile, in addition to being the presenting sponsor of the All-Star Game telecast on Fox, will also be the sponsor of All-Star FanFest for the third consecutive year. The five-day, full interactive baseball-themed festival will take over the Duke Energy Contention Center a few blocks from the stadium. Among the players scheduled to make appearances include MLB Hall of Famers Barry Larkin, Andre Dawson, Ozzie Smith and Juan Marichal.

Mastercard is planning a number of “Priceless Surprises” during All-Star weekend. Mastercard is working with Apple to bring those surprises to fans who leverage Apple Pay at concessions in and around the ballpark during the All-Star events.

Anheuser-Bush will produce and distribute 76,000 cases of its different brands of beer featuring special MLB and All-Star logos throughout Cincinnati. It’s the same number of cases it distributed in Minneapolis for last year’s game and it will total about 1.2 million cans and bottles.

The world-famous Clydsdales will also make appearances in and around the stadium throughout the weekend.

Other official MLB sponsors who will be activating promotions in Cincinnati leading up to theTuesday night game include: Bank of America, Gatorade, Scotts, Church & Dwight, Kellogg’s, Esurance and The Hartford.

Joe Buck will be calling his record 17th All-Star Game for Fox and MLB Hall of Famer Frank Thomas and the legendary but controversial 17-time All-Star Pete Rose will be working as Fox studio analysts on game day.

The Home Run Derby on ESPN will be televised beginning at 8 p.m. on Monday, July 13, with longtime “voice” of the derby Chris Berman being joined by analysts John Kruk and Aaron Boone. Following the Home Run Derby at 11 p.m., ESPN will televise the MLB Legends & Celebrity Softball All-Star Game that will be taped over the weekend.

Last year’s All-Star game on Fox recorded a 3.2 18-49 demo rating, the same as the telecasts in 2013 and 2012, and higher than the 3.1 in 2011. In 2010, the Game drew an 18-49 demo rating of 3.8. All those demo ratings are solid for summer, when most broadcast shows struggle to break a 2.0 in the demo.

Last year’s telecast drew 11.3 million viewers up from 11 million in 2013 and the biggest audience since 2010 when the game drew 12.1 million viewers. While not the largest of audiences, marketers like being associated with the game because it draws family audiences, including harder to reach men in primetime, who watch with their kids.

And the MLB All-Star Game last year drew the largest TV audience among the four major professional sports league All-Star Games.