Hyundai Steps Up for Triple-A Ball

DALLAS Hyundai Motor America has signed on as the first automotive sponsor of Triple-A Baseball in a deal arranged through Richards Sports + Entertainment, a unit of The Richards Group.

Through five “Hyundai Sundays” at participating Triple-A baseball parks, the South Korean automaker will display its new Sonatas and Tucsons and will hold drawings to win one of the former models under the title “Hyundai Home Run Challenge.”

The campaign begins in May with integrated media at each stadium. The package includes stadium signage, radio sponsorship, public address and video board units, the client said.

“With an all-time high attendance of 14.1 million fans in 2005, Triple-A Baseball is the fifth most-attended professional sport in the United States,” said Michelle Cervantez, vice president of marketing at HMA.

The deal also includes title sponsorship of the “Hyundai Legends of Triple-A Baseball” program, marking the first time its “legends” will be nationally recognized in league history. Fans will vote via text message and online for players such as Stan Musial, Bob Gibson, Cal Ripken Jr., Roger Clemens and Alex Rodriguez to determine who will make up the all-time best roster. Voting will take place May 1-Sept. 4.

As the highest classification of Minor League Baseball, Triple-A has been a proving ground for professional players over its 120-year history. About 94 percent of current Major League Baseball players came directly from Triple-A teams, according to Hyundai. Triple-A also claims 159 Hall of Famers, including Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Willie Mays and Jackie Robinson.

Headquartered in Dublin, Ohio, Triple-A Baseball is made up of two leagues and 29 U.S. teams and one in Canada. The franchises are top-echelon farm teams for MLB clubs.

Based in Dallas, the Richards Group handles creative duties for Hyundai.