Major League Baseball Takes A Road Trip WIth Firestone Tires
Friday, December 18, 2009 at 12:23PM

December 18, 2009: Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations said it has signed a multi-year deal that makes its Firestone brand the first "official tire of Major League Baseball." Financial terms were not disclosed.

BATO said the deal would be the largest sports sponsorship for the Firestone brand outside of motor sports, where Firestone deals include being a major partner of the Izod IndyCar Series and title sponsor of the Firestone Indy 300 race. Sibling Bridgestone is the official tire of the NFL and the Super Bowl XLIV half time show, the NHL and the 2010 Winter Classic and the PGA Tour.

Under the agreement, Firestone will become the exclusive sponsor of in-stadium All-Star Game balloting, which in 2010 will see more than 20 million ballots distributed at the 30 MLB ballparks and in approximately 100 Minor League ballparks. BATO said that Firestone would also partner with MLB Properties via "numerous additional promotional opportunities, including the title sponsorship of an officially sanctioned All-Star Week hospitality event" and presenting sponsorship of a premiere attraction at MLB All-Star FanFest., which in 2010 will be in Anaheim, Calif. In addition, the sponsorship agreement includes trademark rights and broadcast media elements. Firestone plans to support the MLBP partnership with an integrated marketing plan to include national advertising and consumer marketing programs and promotions.

"This relationship with MLB brings together two iconic American brands. Aligning the 109-year-old Firestone brand with America's national pastime is a great combination," John Baratta, president of consumer tire replacement sales for Nashville, Tenn.-based BATO, said in a statement. "MLB has a vast and loyal fan base who demand a great performance from their Clubs and great value from the products they support. These fans are a perfect fit for the Firestone brand."

Baratta said that the alliance with MLB could elevate the Firestone brand to new heights of consumer awareness and visibility. "To be able to partner with a sport as dynamic and successful as baseball opens up a new world of possibilities to continue to strengthen our brand loyalty, bolster our marketing support for our family of retailers and reach out to millions of new consumers who are loyal to MLB and its prestigious roster of official sponsors."

According to Tim Brosnan, evp-business for MLB, "Firestone is a proven leader in their industry as well as one of the truly renowned brands in America," "We are proud to welcome Firestone into the MLB family and look forward to bringing our fans and their customers closer together through exciting and innovative programs."

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