US Major League Baseball Selects Firestone as First ‘Official Tyre’
The Firestone brand has walloped a home run over the stadium wall with the signing of a multi-year agreement between Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, LLC (BATO) and Major League Baseball Properties (MLBP) on December 18. Through the deal reached between the two parties, Firestone has become 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 motorsports.
The deal 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 television ratings for its World Series 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 programme 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. BATO and the Firestone brand will also 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 that 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. This sports ground has 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 that demand great performances from their clubs and great value from the products they support. These fans are a perfect fit for the Firestone brand.”
The sponsorship agreement also includes trademark rights and broadcast media elements. BATO plans to support the MLBP partnership with an integrated marketing plan, including national advertising and consumer marketing programmes and promotions.
“Firestone is a proven leader in its 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 programmes.”
“This is a tremendous opportunity to elevate the Firestone brand to new heights of consumer awareness and visibility,” Baratta added. “To be able to partner with a sport as successful and dynamic 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.”