Report: Uniform ads could generate millions

When the Yankees opened in the 2004 season in Japan, their uniforms featured a Ricoh ad patch. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

From TV deals to concession prices to stadium promotions, baseball teams are in the business of making money. Over the past few years, with the onset of variable ticket pricing and all-inclusive stadium packages, clubs have boosted their bottom lines, and the game is booming. But a new report from Horizon Media says that teams could be doing more. Clubs could generate millions of dollars by doing what many consider to be the unthinkable: selling advertising space on team uniforms.

In essence, such a proposal would represent the NASCAR-ization of professional team sports. While logos are plastered over cars and tennis players are rewarded to wear certain labels on the court, baseball has resisted logo creep. Even New Era, the long-time cap provider, hasn’t been able to secure a place on its hats for a logo. But Horizon Media says this is a major missed opportunity, and the Yanks — the top team in the game in top media market in the country — could generate up to $13 million in revenue by selling uniform space.

The company spoke more about its methodology in a press release:

The report aggregates key jersey exposure attributes including; total duration, logo isolation status, logo size and the cost of a 30-second unit in each market. In addition, the report considered the number of detections (how many times a brand/sponsor can be viewed per game), measured duration (how long the brand/sponsor is visible at each detection) and assigned an attribute score (a relative measurement of performance based on the duration, size, isolation and source type) for each sport. This information then produced a media equivalency value – a dollar figure representing the advertising value of each team’s jersey.

According to the study, the Yanks’ TV exposure and ad rates lead to an opportunity to realize up to $13.8 million if advertisements were prominently displayed on uniforms during tv broadcasts. The findings, Horizon Media stressed, are somewhat preliminary, but the dollar figures are enticing. “Roughly two-thirds of all professional sports franchises were evaluated in this study to determine how much revenue could be generated if the leagues and team owners decided to sell the real estate on the front of their jerseys,” Michael A. Neuman, Horizon’s managing partner, said. “We think the findings more than convey the need for stakeholders to take this concept seriously.”

Of course, any proposal that calls for sullying uniforms would quickly be met by gasps from the game’s traditionalist gatekeepers. Perhaps, advertisements, already so prevalent in game broadcast, should stay clear of uniforms. Furthermore, if such an idea were to come to fruition, baseball would like consider these dollars to be, at least in part, a contribution to the revenue sharing pot because media market disparities would give a significant edge to the top teams. (The Marlins, for instance, would draw in just $1.3 million if their ad-filled uniforms had the same on-air exposure time as the Yanks.)

Ultimately, though, this idea is but a thought experiment. No sport has shown a willingness to head down this path, and such a move would indeed sully the purity of the game’s visual aspects. For the money, though, it might almost be worth it.

Open Thread: February 24th Camp Notes

MFIFKY. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Here’s a recap of today’s action…

  • CC Sabathia threw an early morning batting practice session with Joe Girardi, Yogi Berra, Larry Rothschild, and others watching. He threw around 30 pitches and felt he kept his mechanics together, saying his stamina was better after the weight loss. (Chad Jennings, Marc Carig & Erik Boland)
  • Rafael Soriano threw a bullpen session with Jorge Posada behind the plate while Derek Jeter took some hacks against Sergio Mitre. Ground ball pitcher against ground ball hitter? Poor worms. (Carig & Carig)
  • Brian Cashman said that Andrew Brackman has been the most impressive young pitcher in camp so far, but he also mentioned David Phelps, Adam Warren, Hector Noesi, and Manny Banuelos. “You might see all of them [in 2011],” said the GM. (Jack Curry)
  • Position players did a bunch of mundane field drills, including cut-off man work on throws from the outfield. Russell Martin did some blocking drills, but Frankie Cervelli is the likely starter behind the plate for Saturday’s Grapefruit League opener. (Mark Feinsand, Bryan Hoch & Carig)
  • Joe Girardi misspoke when he revealed the Spring Training rotation the other day. Phil Hughes will start the fourth game, A.J. Burnett the fifth game instead of vice versa. He said not to read anything into the order, and I wouldn’t either. It’s still February. (Jennings)
  • Apparently the Yankees have a “director of optimal performance” by the name of Chad Bohling. The players watched him give a presentation this morning on … optimizing performance? I guess. (Jennings)
  • As for the annual team building exercise (the pool hall, arcade, etc.), that’ll happen later on in camp. There’s too much going on right now. (Carig)

This is your open thread for the evening. The Isles are the only local team in action, so yeah. Looks like The Office and Parks & Rec for me. Talk about whatever you like, just be cool.

Carpenter would accept a trade

With Adam Wainwright out for the season, attention has turned to Chris Carpenter. He was already a guy I thought would fit well with the Yanks, and if the Waino injury keeps the Cards at bay in the first half, that could become a reality around the trade deadline. But, since he has 10 and 5 rights, he can veto any trade the Cardinals try to make. According to a recent report by Ken Rosenthal, that won’t be much of an issue.

“If the Cardinals wanted to trade me, obviously I would go. There’s no question about that. I’m not going to hold back or veto or do anything like that if they’re looking to move me.” This won’t become an issue until at least mid-season, but it’s good to know that if the Cardinals fall out of it, there will be few roadblocks to acquiring Carpenter. With a system as deep as the Yanks, there’s surely a match somewhere.

Playoff Odds Report has Yanks sitting pretty

That’s the first iteration of Baseball Prospectus’s Playoff Odds Report, which is available to non-subscribers. Using a Monte Carlo simulator, they run simulations based on expected winning percentage. Even though the Red Sox come out two games ahead in this simulation, the Yankees still have a 70.8 percent playoff odds, thanks to weak competition around the rest of the league. In fact, the next closest team is Texas at 85.6 wins. In the NL, only the Phillies and the Giants come close to the Yanks.

Things might appear a bit bleak when we’re only looking inward. But when compared to the rest of the league, the Yanks still have plenty to be excited about.

The RAB Radio Show: February 24, 2011

Ben joins the show today, and we talk about a few of the position battles in camp. It starts with the pitching and how the competition among the young players is going. We also hit on the bench and the growing perception that Eric Chavez has some kind of edge.

Podcast run time 19:22

Here’s how you can listen to podcast:

  • Download the RAB Radio Show by right clicking on that link and choosing Save As.
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Intro music: “Smile” by Farmer’s Boulevard used under a Creative Commons license

Heyman: Garcia likely No. 4, No. 5 “wide open”

The most peculiar aspect of the Yankees’ rotation battle this spring is that no candidate stands out. The contestants are either flawed veterans — Freddy Garcia, Bartolo Colon — or unproven youngsters — Ivan Nova, David Phelps, Andrew Brackman, etc. This leaves the Yankees with some tough decisions. One of them, though, might be made already.

This morning SI’s Jon Heyman reported that Garcia “has a leg up” on the No. 4 starer job. That would mean he’s a leg up on everyone, since he’d have to fall into the No. 5 spot before falling out of the race completely. When the Yankees signed Garcia, I assumed he’d win one of those spots out of spring training. He’s an experienced veteran who pitched serviceably last year, even with diminished stuff. Even though he came to camp on a minor league deal, I was confident of seeing him pitch in pinstripes this April.

While Garcia might already have an assumed spot in the rotation, apparently the Yanks are being a bit more tight-lipped about the last spot. Heyman calls the the competition “wide open,” but I think the Yanks have a good idea of what they’re doing there. They have a few young guys, but perhaps none quite as ready for the bigs as Ivan Nova. Brackman and Phelps would be nice options, but I can’t see either of them, in their limited experiences, making the club out of camp. That essentially boils the competition to Nova and Colon, and unless Colon lights up opposing hitters during his spring starts, it’s hard to see anyone but Nova taking the job.

This is really just a reminder of the differences between perception and reality in spring training. Last year the Yankees held a fifth starter competition, but word was that Hughes was the favorite from the start. This year they’re doing something similar, but if you break down the contestants it’s hard to pick anyone other than Garcia and Nova, with Colon having an outside shot because of his veteran status. Maybe these things do motivate players, but they’re easy enough to see through. The Yanks are saying it, but from the looks there’s not much of a competition at all.