While scrolling through my Twitter feed this morning, the first thing to jump out at this Boston Red Sox fan (Did I just alienate half our readers? Hello? Are you still there?) was a promoted tweet from T-Mobile that read:
— T-Mobile USA (@TMobile) January 14, 2013
Intrigued, I followed the link to a sweepstakes-entrance Facebook page run by T-Mobile, which announces in the wireless provider’s familiar pink, white, and black: “T-Mobile takes the field as the official wireless partner of Major League Baseball.” At first, still in my early morning/longing-for-baseball-season stupor, I just scrolled down to check out the entrance form. A few sips of tea later, the PR-oriented part of my brain kicked in and said, “Wait, what?”
Yep, somehow we missed it, but at last week’s 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show, T-Mobile USA, Inc. and Major League Baseball (MLB) announced a multi-year, multimillion dollar technology and marketing partnership. The deal bills T-Mobile as the official wireless sponsor of MLB, marking the first time in over a decade that the MLB has partnered with any major wireless provider.
As part of the agreement, T-Mobile will work with MLB and its digital media and technology company, MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM), to “enhance America’s National Pastime on and off the field with game-changing wireless capabilities”. One of the first “game-changing” things T-Mobile will provide to the MLB will be a new On-Field Communication System — a wireless voice system connecting managers in select Major League dugouts to coaches in bullpens.
Both parties seem pretty happy with the agreement. Mike Sievert, chief marketing officer at T-Mobile, said, “Unlike a typical sponsorship, we’re approaching this partnership as a collaboration in which T-Mobile, MLB and MLBAM will work together to evolve the game with exciting new technology innovation enhancing the experience for customers and fans.”
Meanwhile, MLB executive VP of business Tim Bronsan said, “T-Mobile has made a significant commitment to Major League Baseball across our game and business and its innovative drive and expertise in wireless technology will be an outstanding addition to the baseball industry.”
So what do you think, readers? Could this be just the marketing strategy T Mobile needs to get itself off the list of America’s Most Hated Brands, or will it forever remain, at best, a “competitor brand” to giants AT&T and Verizon?