The Major League Baseball Players Association has rebranded its commercial activities arm as MLB Players, replete with a new logo, font and colors.
The rebrand is much more than that, said Evan Kaplan, Managing Director of MLB Players, Inc.
“It symbolizes the links between the rich history of ‘America’s Pastime’ to the best baseball players in the world,” Kaplan said. “MLB Players, Inc. represents all the attributes that distinguish our great game—unrivaled diversity, exceptionally skilled athletes and the next generation of dynamic superstars.”
The union represents the 1,200 players across the 40-man rosters of each of the 30 MLB teams. It’s currently negotiating the parameters of the 2021 baseball season and is about to embark on collective bargaining discussions for a new Basic Agreement. The current five-year deal expires on Dec. 1, 2021.
The union and its commercial arm split about a year ago. MLBPI brings to market products and services featuring the group publicity rights of the players to more than 100 business partners worldwide, the union said.
Partners and licensees will begin to implement the brand over the next few months, and the rebranding is expected to be complete by April 1, the anticipated opening day of the 2021 MLB season.
As of now, pitchers and catchers are slated to report to spring training camps in Florida and Arizona as early as Feb. 16, with exhibition games to begin Feb. 27.
Tony Clark, the executive director of the union, told Sportico that despite the spreading coronavirus, his constituency expects to return to play a full season.
“Our players anticipate arriving in spring training as normal and playing a 162-game season as they otherwise would,” Clark said. “There continues to be early dialogue and health and safety protocols, and that will continue.”
This past season, MLB staged an abbreviated season of 60 games sans fans and extended playoffs that were delayed for four months after a national emergency was called March 13 because of the pandemic.
Whether any of those anticipated dates are met depends on health conditions and the possibility of a COVID vaccine being developed and given wide distribution next year. On Monday, Pfizer announced that testing of its COVID-19 vaccine has reached 90 percent effectiveness.