Ballpark Holds Winning Hand of Sports Cards

LOS ANGELES The Upper Deck Co. has tapped The Ballpark to handle advertising for its sports trading card division, the shop said.

The independent shop in Santa Monica, Calif., picked up the business following an informal review involving three agencies. Di Zinno Thompson, an independent in San Diego, previously handled the business. DZT participated in the review, along with Johnson Gray Advertising in Newport Beach, Calif., according to the client in Carlsbad, Calif.

Upper Deck and The Ballpark are sharing media buying responsibilities for the sports trading cards. DZT retains ad duties on Upper Deck’s entertainment trading cards, which includes series for properties like Yu-Gi-Oh!, Marvel, Disney and Hulk.

Billings were undisclosed. Upper Deck spent nearly $4 million on ads overall in 2003, with approximately $1 million spent on cards, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

The Ballpark is charged with creating campaigns for all of Upper Deck’s sports series, which encompass baseball, basketball, football, golf, hockey and soccer, as well as providing strategic marketing counsel for product launches, special event promotions and consumer marketing sponsorships.

As part of the pitch, the shop named, designed and produced promotional materials for Upper Deck’s “Rip Into It and Win” promotion supporting the client’s new, multi-year sponsorship as the “Official Trading Card of Little League Baseball.” The promotion, which will reach nearly three million Little Leaguers, will launch in March and run through July 2004.

Ballpark principal Andrew Shevin said the shop is excited to work with a company that has “revolutionized the sports trading card experience,” by offering products like autographed cards in select packages and pieces of an athlete’s jersey in others.

This is the second national account win for The Ballpark since adding Kyle Horn last fall as vice president of business development to expand its roster of sports and entertainment clients [Adweek Online, Oct. 15, 2003]. In January, the 20-person shop won Easton Sports’ baseball and softball division. The Ballpark also works with clients like ESPN and ESPN Zone Restaurants, DirecTV, the Anaheim Angels and the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.