FIRESTONE BRAND BECOMES OFFICIAL TIRE OF MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
Firestone Becomes Exclusive Sponsor of All-Star In-Stadium Fan Balloting
Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, LLC (BATO) and Major League Baseball Properties (MLBP) today announced they have entered into a multi-year integrated marketing partnership that designates the Firestone brand as the first “Official Tire of Major League Baseball.” The agreement also marks the largest sports sponsorship for the 109-year-old Firestone brand outside of motor sports.
The agreement comes on the heels of a strong year for Major League Baseball (MLB), which saw the fifth-highest attendance figure in its history and the highest World Series TV ratings in five years. Under the agreement, Firestone will become the exclusive sponsor of in-stadium All-Star Game balloting. The Major League Baseball All-Star Game Balloting program is the largest of its kind in professional sports, with more than 20 million ballots distributed at the 30 Major League ballparks, each of which will have 25 home dates for balloting, and in approximately 100 Minor League ballparks.
Firestone will partner with MLBP via numerous additional promotional opportunities, including the title sponsorship of an officially sanctioned All-Star Week hospitality event and presenting sponsorship of a premiere attraction at MLB All-Star FanFest.
This agreement also formally brings together two American brands – each over 100 years old – which have informally crossed paths many times over the years. Firestone founder Harvey S. Firestone was a noted baseball enthusiast and helped build Firestone Stadium in Akron, Ohio in 1925, which played host to a number of travelling MLB players over the years and is still used today for area youth baseball and softball leagues.
“This relationship with MLB brings together two iconic American brands. Aligning the 109 year old Firestone brand with America’s National Pastime is a great combination,” said John Baratta, President of Consumer Tire Replacement Sales, BATO. “MLB has a vast and loyal fan base who demand a great performance from their Clubs and great value from the products they support. These fans are a perfect fit for the Firestone brand.”
“Firestone is a proven leader in their industry as well as one of the truly renowned brands in America,” said Tim Brosnan, Executive Vice President, Business, Major League Baseball. “We are proud to welcome Firestone into the MLB family and look forward to bringing our fans and their customers closer together through exciting and innovative programs.”
The sponsorship agreement also includes trademark rights and broadcast media elements. Firestone plans to support the MLBP partnership with an integrated marketing plan including national advertising and consumer marketing programs and promotions.
“This is a tremendous opportunity to elevate the Firestone brand to new heights of consumer awareness and visibility,” said Baratta. “To be able to partner with a sport as dynamic and successful as baseball opens up a new world of possibilities to continue to strengthen our brand loyalty, bolster our marketing support for our family of retailers and reach out to millions of new consumers who are loyal to MLB and its prestigious roster of official sponsors.”
In addition to its new national partnership with MLBP, the company’s Firestone brand has a long tradition of high-profile sports sponsorships tied to racing, including the Official Tire of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race®, as well as the IZOD IndyCar® Series and IndyPro Series.
About Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations:
Nashville, Tenn.-based Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations (BATO) is a business unit of Bridgestone Americas, Inc., whose parent company, Bridgestone Corporation, is the world’s largest tire and rubber company. Reporting into the BATO business unit are the company’s Latin American tire operations, the U.S. and Canadian consumer tire businesses and the U.S. and Canadian commercial tire businesses. BATO develops, manufactures and markets Bridgestone, Firestone and associate brand tires. The business unit is focused on retail, wholesale and original equipment markets, supplying passenger, light truck, commercial vehicle, off road, motorcycle, agricultural and other tires to its customers in the Americas. In addition, through its Bridgestone Bandag Tire Solutions unit, retreading customers have access to industry-leading research and development, manufacturing, marketing and sales expertise, providing them with a total tire solution.
About Major League Baseball Properties
The Major League Baseball Clubs formed Major League Baseball Properties (MLBP) in 1966 as the Clubs’ agent for marketing and trademark licensing and protection. Major League Baseball Properties is responsible for managing consumer product licensing activities for Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball, and for Major League Baseball, developing national advertising campaigns, cultivating sponsorship opportunities with major consumer brands and corporations, growing the game and the business of baseball outside the United States and creating national marketing programs in conjunction with Clubs, broadcast rightsholders and national sponsors. MLBP also operates a full-service video and audio production unit (Major League Baseball Productions), a publishing division and stock photo licensing agency, and manages logistics for the All-Star Game and World Series as well as all other special events. For more information on Major League Baseball, log on to www.MLB.com.
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