According to a report from Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports, MLB is preparing to field bids for sponsorship of the pitch clock that has been implemented this season. Sports marketing analyst Bob Dorfman believes such a deal would be worth at least $10 million, with local deals for each of the 30 teams also possible. As with uniform patches and other ad revenue, the value of such sponsorships would vary based on market and visibility.
“I would think any time-related company would jump on it,” Dorfman told FOS. “Particularly this season. It’s got so much attention. It’s successful. Everybody seems to be loving it. Any watch- or time-related company would jump all over it. Even TIME magazine.”
Rolex already has several big sponsorships with various leagues and events, including The Masters, the USGA, and the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments. Those are all a little higher on the prestige scale than baseball, so perhaps a deal with Timex — which has a licensing agreement with UFC — would make more sense.
But why stop at just the timer itself? MLB could net even more by selling naming rights to clock violations. I have to imagine any of the male performance drugs and online clinics would jump all over the ability to brand each instance in which a pitcher’s delivery lasted longer than expected. And I’m sure Roman or Hims would love to see their logo pop up when a hitter isn’t ready on time.
I think it’s a pretty terrible idea on the whole because broadcasts are just going to become one long string — or an even longer string — of ad reads, but the league may as print money while the ink’s still wet. And hey, it’s no cornier than having college coaches and other faculty positions named after the person or family that endowed them.
You’re welcome, Rob Manfred, I’ll send you an invoice if you end up landing one of the boner pill mills.