Is this the future of baseball?

The writing is on the wall; or, more precisely, on uniform sleeves and helmets.

Corporate sponsorship in baseball has slowly moved from billboards behind home plates in the 80s (in full view from the default center field television cameras), to stadium naming rights in the 90s, to the newest fad, followed by several teams in this year's World Baseball Classic:

Corporate sponsor names on uniform sleeves and helmets (and not to pick on team Puerto Rico; several other teams have them, but Puerto Rico played today allowing me to get screencaps)

Is this a sign for things to come to the major leagues?

Do you think that the next step would be naming rights to post-season games and the world series, like with the college bowl games? How does "Jiffy Lube NLDS" sound? What about the "KFC All-star game"?

Or could it be the European soccer model, where teams instead of wearing their team's name on their chests, they wear their team's sponsor's. Will the next iteration of the Twins' franchise be the Minnesota Targets?

What do you think?


SAMEU said...

WBC has been great this year. I particularly like the video IBAF release about the series.

Here is what I think:

There is money coming into the sport. Period. Our company is building the country league here in Czech Republic and it is difficult to get sponsors to donate. If the sport has money coming in through sponsors and they want to paint their name on player's foreheads so be it. The money donated helps cover costs that no one else is willing to cover. KFC All-Star game sounds "delicious". Throw in a bucket of wings for the first 1000 fans and we got ourselves a ball game.

Seth Hawkins
Senior Writer

thrylos98 said...

I agree up to a point: I absolutely recognize the need of corporate sponsorship in places where the baseball is in development mode and there is not a strong fan base. I do not think that there is any way that fans in Europe will be willing to pay E 10-35 each to watch a baseball game. Money for uniforms, travel, balls, bats (and a bit for salaries) has to come from somewhere. Eurosports is not going to pay E 10 million to a league for television rights for a baseball league tournament. That is the reality.

I was really referring more to places like the US and Japan, where baseball fans and TV rights are already putting a lot of money into teams pockets, in a manner similar to that of football (soccer) teams in Europe and South America (thus the uniform reference for European footfall teams.) They do not need that stuff.

It is very exiting to see the growth of baseball globally and the good international competition. I think that Team Netherlands did wonders in the WBC for the popularity of the sport in Europe