By Barry Janoff
June 18, 2014: Procter & Gamble men's grooming division Gillette, which has been associated with MLB since 1939, is taking a high-profile step by becoming title sponsor of the Home Run Derby All-Star Game event.
Financial terms of the one-year deal were not disclosed.
The Gillette Home Run Derby will be held July 14 and air live on ESPN from Target Field in Minneapolis, which will host the All-Star Game the next night.
Gillette said it would use the event to support its new razor, the Fusion ProGlide with FlexBall Technology. The brand said it would "conduct Gillette Home Run Derby promotions, advertising during the telecast and have a presence around the Twin Cities."
"Whether you're standing at the plate waiting to crush the ball or in front of the mirror prepping for an optimal shave, we understand that maximum contact is very important when performing your best," Hooman Shahidi, senior brand manager for Gillette North America, said in a statement. "That's why we're excited to partner with Major League Baseball during the Home Run Derby to promote our new Gillette Fusion ProGlide with FlexBall Technology . . . "
The Home Run Derby is annually among ESPN's most-watched events. Chevrolet was title sponsor last year when the All-Star Game and surrounding events were held in Citi Field, home to the New York Mets.
Century 21 Real Estate was title sponsor in 2005-06. State Farm took over from 2007-2012.
As in previous years, the Gillette Home Run Derby will raise funds for MLB's Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities program and such charities as Boys & Girls Clubs of America. More than $3 million has been raised over the past ten years, with an all-time high of $615,000 donated through the 2012 event, according to MLB.
Gillette Home Run Derby is part of All-Star Game events that include the Taco Bell All-Star Sunday with the Taco Bell All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game and the SiriusXM Futures Game and on Monday the Gatorade All-Star Workout Day.
"Gillette has partnered with Major League Baseball longer than any other company, and the Gillette Home Run Derby is a terrific way to celebrate our 75th anniversary of working together," Tim Brosnan, evp-business for MLB, said in a statement. "With outstanding performances, the successful introduction of players engaging in social media during the event and integration of captains from each league in previous years, the Derby continues to be fresh, entertaining and one of the most popular events on the sports calendar."
Gillette has been an MLB sponsor since the 1939 World Series, and ads featuring MLB players date back to at least 1910.