Minor League Baseball, Meet Major League Advertising

Minor League Baseball encompasses 160 teams--which used to mean 160 separate ad operations, and mostly local sponsors. But this season, new president and CMO Michael Hand (formerly of IMG) is enticing national advertisers to advertise everywhere at once.

Is there interest?

"We're the challengers. [Corporate advertisers] have been to minor-league games before, but they thought of it as an experience with the 5,000 people in the stadium. When they realize we can create scale, I see lightbulbs going off."

What's the pitch?

"We tell corporate America what we stand for: We're philanthropic, we're connected to community, and we have an exciting product on the field with future stars of the game. We're part of the fabric of Americana."

Are the minor leagues better for some brands?

"People don't block out the environment when they come to our parks. Brands are part of the experience. For every leading brand that feels a need to go with MLB, we're perfect for brands two through nine."

The Numbers Are a Home Run

Compare MiLB's attendance with other leagues':

[Photo by David Sailors, Corbis]

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  • What is going to happen to the small community sponsors if large corporate ones take over? Above you mention MiLB being philanthropic and connected to the community, so why take community support away? I like going to minor league games and getting to know the differences and similarities between our communities.