Apr 01, 2019 at 12:00 AM
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Batter Up: Five Sponsorship Stories to Watch this MLB Season

With temps warming up, it's time to get out to your nearest ballpark. Free agency wasn't the only hot topic this off-season, with several sponsorship stories and category shake-ups happening over the off-season. With that in mind, here's a quick rundown to catch you up on some of this upcoming season's biggest sponsorship stories....

1. Gambling Land-Grab: In November, MLB became the latest North American sports league to align with MGM which has also recently launched partnerships with the Major League Soccer, the Boston Red Sox, New York Jets, NHL, Alliance of American Football, NBA and WNBA. Since it's a non-exclusive deal, it will be fascinating to see how companies like MGM benefit from having access to the league's treasure trove of official statistical data, the largest of any professional sports league.

2. Data is King: Along those lines, Major League Baseball also in the off-season inked a deal with data company, SportRadar. Not only does the deal let Sportradar distribute official MLB real time game statistics to media companies, but also to domestic and international gaming operators.

3. Papa's Back: Papa John's has taken huge steps to makeover its brand in recent months in the wake of scandal, bringing in a new agency, new CMO and even a new Shaq. While the “Papa Slam” promotion was suspended midway through last season, it seems the pizza chain is back on the radar for 2019.

4. The Swoosh: It won’t show up this season, but beginning in 2020, Nike will replace Under Armour in serving as the exclusive provider of Major League Baseball’s on-field uniforms (which will feature a Nike Swoosh), including baselayers, game-day outerwear and training apparel.

5. Fresh Takes on Apparel: While MLB licensed apparel is nothing new, MLB, this season is capitalizing on two of fashion’s hottest trends: dress casual for men and athleisure for women. Untuckit will offer shirts with 8 team logos while DKNY will launch form-fitting activewear for all 30 mlb teams.