NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations LLC (BATO) and Major League Baseball Properties (MLBP) have entered into a multi-year integrated marketing partnership that designates the Firestone brand as the first “Official Tire of Major League Baseball.” The agreement also marks the largest sports sponsorship for the 109-year-old Firestone brand outside of motorsports.
The agreement comes on the heels of a strong year for Major League Baseball (MLB), which saw the fifth-highest attendance figures in its history and the highest World Series TV ratings in five years. Under the agreement, Firestone will become the exclusive sponsor of in-stadium All-Star Game Balloting. The Major League Baseball All-Star Game Balloting program is the largest of its kind in professional sports, with more than 20 million ballots distributed at the 30 Major League ballparks, each of which will have 25 home dates for balloting, and in approximately 100 Minor League ballparks.
BATO and the Firestone brand will partner with MLBP 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.
This agreement also formally brings together two American brands each more than 100 years old which have informally crossed paths many times over the years. Firestone founder Harvey S. Firestone was a noted baseball enthusiast and helped build Firestone Stadium in Akron, Ohio, in 1925, which played host to a number of travelling MLB players over the years and is still used today for area youth baseball and softball leagues.
“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,” said John Baratta, president of Consumer Tire Replacement Sales, BATO. “MLB has a vast and loyal fan base that demand great performances from their clubs and great value from the products they support. These fans are a perfect fit for the Firestone brand.”
The sponsorship agreement also includes trademark rights and broadcast media elements. BATO plans to support the MLBP partnership with an integrated marketing plan including national advertising and consumer marketing programs and promotions.
“Firestone is a proven leader in its industry as well as one of the truly renowned brands in America,” said Tim Brosnan, executive vice president, Major League Baseball. “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.”
“This is a tremendous opportunity to elevate the Firestone brand to new heights of consumer awareness and visibility,” said Baratta. “To be able to partner with a sport as successful and dynamic 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.”
In addition to its new national partnership with the MLB, the company’s Firestone brand has a long tradition of high-profile sports sponsorships tied to racing, including the Official Tire of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, as well as the IZOD IndyCar Series and IndyPro Series. The company’s Bridgestone brand is the Official Tire of the National Football League, National Hockey League, PGA TOUR and the World Golf ChampionshipsBridgestone Invitational played at the Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio. The Bridgestone brand also has local and regional sponsorships with properties such as the Tennessee Titans and Nashville Predators.