It’s nice to see Major League Baseball lighten up a little bit.
The commissioner’s office typically isn’t known for churning out lighthearted content, but Rob Manfred’s crew showed a little flare when it came to introducing fans to a series of major rule changes going into effect this season. Rather than do what it normally does — simply negotiate the rule changes with the union and then declare them enacted — this time MLB showed some sensitivity to its fans who may not be aware of how radically things could change this season.
If you haven’t paid attention: MLB will have a pitch clock for the first time in its history, has enlarged the bases to make them safer for players to slide into and to produce more running, and has prohibited certain kinds of defensive positioning. The pitch clock figures to have an immediate impact on a whole class of rapidly growing in-play bet types, and the other changes also will have sports betting implications to varying extents.
MLB produced a series of humorous ads explaining the new rules. In one, 270-pound slugger Daniel Vogelbach — who has yet to steal his first major league base — contemplates trying to swipe one given the temptation of three extra square inches of bag.
This MLB ad with Daniel Vogelbach and Buck Showalter is amazing 😂
— SNY (@SNYtv) March 23, 2023
Other ads feature some of the game’s more outgoing personalities, including Tim Anderson, Joey Votto, Blake Snell, and Nestor Cortes, as well as actor Bryan Cranston and comedian Sebastian Maniscalco.
‘Field like Ozzie. Run Like Rickey.’
MLB launches an ad campaign to pitch new rules to casual fans, who may or may not recognize Ozzie Smith and Rickey Henderson.
In here, you’ll find links to ads featuring Joey Votto, Tim Anderson and Blake Snell.https://t.co/02hOQdyZzA
— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) March 23, 2023
The spots appeared first on social media and now are all over the airwaves on MLB Network, MLB.com, MLB.TV, and the league’s broadcast partners, including FOX/FS1, ESPN, TBS, and Apple. It’s nice to see MLB pay a little more attention to marketing its great young players and, just as important, to letting people enjoy those players’ personalities.
NBC eyeing NBA broadcast rights?
You have to be of a certain age to remember the days when NBC controlled the rights to NBA broadcasts. But CNBC reports that NBCUniversal is once again contemplating a bid to broadcast NBA games after more than 20 years of Disney and Turner Sports owning the league’s rights.
CNBC reports that the media company’s executives have informed the NBA of their potential interest, with the network reportedly seeking a package that would include playoff games. It also could include some exclusive streaming services through Peacock.
Apple and Amazon also have expressed interest in getting in on the streaming action, and interest from tech companies of that size certainly is good news for the league as it attempts to drive up the price — a price that certainly isn’t shrinking with the rise of legal sports betting.
But no formal discussions can take place with bidders aside from Turner Sports and Disney unless those companies agree to waive their exclusive negotiation window, which ends in April 2024, the report said.
The changes wouldn’t go into effect until the end of the 2024-25 season and the league could simply re-up with Turner and Disney as it did in 2014. But streaming has changed everything, opening the door for more and different kinds of bidders, and a robust demand is always good for the seller.
Stewart-Binks joins RSI as brand ambassador
Veteran sportscaster and reporter Julie Stewart-Binks is the latest media member to hop on board the sports betting content train, agreeing to a deal announced this week to appear on shows and elsewhere as a brand ambassador for Chicago-based Rush Street Interactive, the parent company of BetRivers.
She will be tasked with developing sportsbook, casino, and lifestyle content for the brand, hosting a new podcast on the BetRivers Network, and making guest appearances on the Boomsies! podcast hosted by Dan O’Toole.
Even if you think the market is saturated with betting content nowadays, BetRivers producing original audio and video shows is a potential plus for betting-inclined consumers.