Baseball: The enduring sports brand

March 21, 2013

We've covered NASCAR and the NFL, but with Opening Day just around the corner, there's only one sports brand that matters for the next half-year: Major League Baseball.

While my Sisyphean devotion to a spectacularly mismanaged and consistently underperforming franchise trudges on, the MLB remains the winningest brand in all of professional sportsdom. What other sport has endured scandals of the highest order — from the infamous Black Sox Scandal to a players strike to steroid use — and yet emerges to inspire little leaguers worldwide?

History, excitement, community, cutting edge facilities and fun — the MLB is truly the brand that has to be experienced.

History? What other sport commands Presidents to throw the Opening Day pitch? Indeed, Baseball players are the quintessential Americans: Jackie Robinson, Lou Gehrig, Yogi Berra, Hank Aaron. Drama? My favorite World Series of all time, the 1986 Mets-Red Sox, is pure Shakespeare in 9 innings.

Community? There’s no lonelier soul than a person donning a Mets cap in Northern Manhattan, but change your (pin)stripes, and you’re surrounded by family! Theoretically speaking, of course.

Facilities? With recent modernizations of baseball venues across the country, fans experience the MLB brand in lavish surroundings with gourmet concessions. So, for those whose team typically battles for last place, in addition to my empathy, you have an entire ballpark to stroll, and usually in the open air!

For me, I believe the versatility of the MLB was crystallized in a single moment at Shea stadium: a tiny, 30lb 6 year old pumped her fist and chanted "Let's go Mets!" while her grandfather looked on approvingly.

The MLB ties so many threads of our lives together – family, community, inspiration – like no other and I, like so many, anxiously await the rallying cry: “PLAY BALL!”

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