The New York Yankees are starting their search for a corporate sponsor patch to add to the iconic pinstripes. The team has selected Legends, the data and experiences business it co-founded, to manage the search.
“This opportunity is historic, and we are proud that the Yankees have entrusted us to lead this search,” Chris Hibbs, Legends president of global partnerships, said in a press release announcing the deal this morning. “On top of the incredible media value and reach, being the preeminent partner of one of the most recognized brands in the world is immeasurable. This is a truly unrivaled opportunity.”
As sports’ most valuable franchise and arguably best-known worldwide, the high-profile opportunity could result in a significant sum of money for the Bronx Bombers, perhaps more than $20 million annually. The patch deal may exceed other teams’ ballpark naming rights deals, in part because the Yankees don’t sell the naming rights to their Bronx stadium. It likely doesn’t hurt that the team is on a pace to match its all-time season win total of 114 this campaign.
“This partnership will be a premier sponsorship, and we are excited to team up with a company that will benefit from what this relationship represents in terms of visibility and brand association,” Michael J. Tusiani, the Yankees’ head of partnerships, said in the release.
Major League Baseball clubs and players approved the addition of sponsor patches to uniforms beginning with the 2023 season. While all 30 club uniforms already sport the Nike swoosh logo on jerseys and pants, as well as the New Era logos on caps and Stance logo on stirrups, the jersey patch is significant foray into brand sponsorship. Under the MLB agreement, the jersey patches will be four by four inches and positioned on either sleeve of the uniform. The sponsor and its logo will have to be approved by the league and players for every team, with alcohol, betting and media brands forbidden from consideration. As a league, MLB took in $1.13 billion in corporate sponsorships in 2021.
Legends works with a number of top-tier sports teams around the world on sponsorship projects, facility upgrades, marketing and data and analytics. The two organizations are well-acquainted, with the Yankees one of the original co-founders of Legends—with the Dallas Cowboys—in 2008. The two teams still own slightly more than 40% of the equity of Legends, after last year’s deal that gave investment manager Sixth Street controlling equity. Legends will only represent one MLB club at a time in the search for patch sponsors, according to the company.