First-ever MLB jersey patch sponsor deal snaps status quo

By Andrea Montolivo

Chicago, USA, Apr 22 (EFE).- A taboo was broken in American baseball when the San Diego Padres this week unveiled a new sponsorship deal with Motorola that will see the telecom firm’s logo stitched onto the official jersey as of the 2023 season.

It marks a change of direction in Major League Baseball in line with a practice that has already brought in over $225 million for the NBA and is due to debut in the NHL from next year.

The ‘batwing’ Motorola logo will feature on the sleeve of the San Diego Padres jersey, which became the first team in the MLB’s nearly 120 year history to sell an advertisement space on its uniform in a deal announced Tuesday.

Chicago-based company Motorola will also have its branding on display at Petco Park, home of the Padres.

“Being woven into the San Diego Padres jersey is an exciting and pivotal moment for the Motorola brand and our innovative product line, and we’re thrilled to connect with Padres and worldwide baseball fans through this first-of-its-kind MLB partnership,” Rudi Kalil, vice-president and general manager at Motorola North America, said in a statement.

Selling jersey space was prohibited in the MLB until a change in the rules last August, which will come into effect for the 2023 season.

While shirt sponsors have been common in European football for around 50 years, the practice did not take off in the US until 2007, when Major League Soccer kicked off the change.

This is down to the fact that although the United States is renowned for its propensity to turn everything into an advertising opportunity, sport jerseys have long been upheld as something sacred.

The NBA did not allow shirt sponsors until the 2017/18 season, when the league permitted teams to use a small space on the left of the chest.

The Los Angeles Lakers, one of the best-known teams in the NBA, last year signed a deal with South Korean company Bibigo worth an estimated $100 million, the LA Times reported.EFE


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