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WME Sports wins latest agency shootout for MLB Giants patch

By Terry Lefton

Endeavor’s WME Sports has won an agency shootout to sell the MLB Giants' jersey ad patch. "We’re looking at this bringing in a new partner that could potentially have as much impact as a naming-rights partner,’’ said WME Sports Senior VP & Division Head of Property Solutions Joe Januszewski. The Giants' patch will be sold as part of a "Principal Partner Package," with additional marketing assets including signage, digital and experiential marketing opportunities. "We’re looking at this as something that could have major community connections, hospitality components, and entitlement, not just on the uniform, but possibly at Oracle Park also,” said Januszewski, who previously sold for the Rangers, Red Sox and Padres. He wouldn’t reveal pricing for the Giants' patch, beyond "getting as much as we can," but industry estimates were that the Giants' jersey patch could fetch $20M or more per annum. By way of comparables, the Warriors' NBA patch deal is one of that league’s biggest, although it was packaged with assets including entitlement to the team's practice facility. "All those developing Silicon Valley tech companies need to brand themselves. We hope one will see the value of aligning with a home team," Januszewski said.

MLB PATCHES A HOT COMMODITY: The 4x4-inch ad patches won’t be on MLB jersey sleeves until next season. Only the Padres have announced a patch deal (with Motorola) so far, but sales activity around the new asset has been brisk, and in most cases, asking prices are exceeding what MLB teams are already receiving for their naming-rights sponsorships. Competition among agencies to sell the patches has been tight, and it will be interesting to see whether the patches are largely sold to local, national, or even global brands, as was the case with many of the NBA jersey ad patches. Along with Endeavor selling the Giants sleeve patch, supported by its in-house analytics group, Excel Sports Management is representing the Angels, with a patch thought to be especially attractive to Japanese brands, because of Shohei Ohtani; Oak View Group is selling the Mets patch; Elevate is working with the Orioles and the Tigers; and Sportfive, which had a hand in selling the Lakers uniform patch to Korean food company Bibigo, is looking to replicate that feat with the Dodgers’ sleeve patch. "I’m not at all surprised that demand is robust," said Dodgers President Stan Kasten. "The pricing is still far below what you see in sports like soccer, around the rest of the world. We’re watched by fans on TV more than any sport, because we have so many games. It’s amazing ad real estate and that’s what advertisers are looking for."

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