What do baseball and wine have in common? Until recently, not a whole lot; however, a new marketing strategy by Major League Baseball is creating a connection between the two.
Not wanting to harm its long lasting relationship with the major beer company Budweiser, which it has exclusive sponsorship rights with, beer bottling was not an option. So instead, the MLB has turned to wine branding for its latest money making scheme.
Last week, fans, as well as the media, were invited to a special wine tasting event at the Fan Cave, Major League Baseball’s Manhattan event spot. Party goers were able to sample the new collection of wines, which showcases special blends for seven MLB teams. The Texas Rangers, San Francisco Giants, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Seattle Mariners, Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies were all chosen to be paired with their very own style of wine.
The MLB actually started its alcohol branding endeavor two years ago, with unique champagne for the World Series championship team and special wines for the All Star games.
Building brand awareness is a concept the MLB has long been familiar with, as branding can make or break a company’s presence in the marketplace. Custom labels and packaging are often the main association consumers have with products and services.
So far, it appears as though this particular branding strategy is a home run for Major League Baseball. The first round of orders for individual teams’ wines came in at 11,000 boxes, with the second totaling 14,000 more. At $25 to $30 per bottle, the initial retail value of this business venture has come in at nearly $10 million.
Team wines are currently available for purchase online and in local liquor stores. They are expected to make their way into larger chains soon.
With seven teams currently featured, Vice President of Consumer Products for the MLB, Michael Napolitano, hopes that soon all 30 baseball clubs will be represented by their own unique wines. He also expects that teams will eventually have a whole line of wines, with different varieties to please fans across the board.