The Los Angeles Dodgers have partnered with marketing agency Sportfive to obtain sponsorship deals for the Major League Baseball club to name the playing field at Dodger Stadium and add an advertising patch to the team uniforms.
Last year, Sportfive helped negotiate a uniform patch deal for the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers with Korean food company Bibigo that alone was worth $100 million over five years, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“By combining the two opportunities we could go well north of that,” Corey Norkin, senior vice president of global partnerships for the Dodgers, said in an interview last week at Dodger Stadium.
The priority is to sell the uniform advertising patch, which will appear for the first time in MLB history during the 2023 season after being included in the new five-year Basic Agreement between owners and players. The field naming rights deal could be negotiated separately.
“If we could do one partner that would be great,” Norkin said. “Ideally it would be one brand. But the max value is the jersey patch getting started for next season, and the rest will fall into place. If the field presenting is part of that, fantastic, let’s go for it.”
To be clear, the Dodgers are not selling naming rights to Dodger Stadium, which opened in 1962 and will host the All-Star Game for only the second time on July 19. The first was in 1980.
But the field representation is the next best thing, and the sponsor’s name will take its place on all references and signage related to Dodger Stadium, Norkin said.
Sportfive, which has done numerous similar deals across the sports spectrum, said it’s everyone’s goal to protect the iconic Dodger Stadium name.
“When it comes down to the objectives that need to be achieved, like brand awareness and media coverage, there’s little to no difference,” Bob Brennfleck, the company’s senior vice president for commercial, said in a telephone interview.
Naming rights have been getting lucrative and lengthier of late. A couple of miles from Dodger Stadium in downtown L.A., AEG, the owners of the former Staples Center, sold the rights last year to Crypto.com for a reported $700 million over 20 years.
As far as the patch is concerned, the NBA has amassed about $150 million in total revenue since that league adopted uniform patches in time for the 2021-22 season. MLB offers twice the number of players in uniform and twice the number of games.
“We’re the Dodgers,” Norkin said. “Given our reach, given our media market, given the frequency of games, given the history of this ballpark, given all the factors that go into this, we’re looking at a really significant partner.”
Sportfive is an international company that has a worldwide reach in linking sports franchises with global brands. Aside from the Lakers, they also lead sponsorship sales for the NFL’s New York Jets in the United Kingdom, and Flamengo, a Brazilian soccer club, in international markets.
Sportfive averages more than $1 billion in gross sales per year on behalf of its rightsholder clients in 30 sports around the world, the company said.
The Dodgers and Lakers are joined in numerous ways. Dodgers owners Mark Walter and Todd Boehly bought a minority stake in the Lakers last year. And Magic Johnson, one of the greatest players in Lakers and NBA history, is a minority partner in the baseball club’s ownership group.
The symbiotic relationship helped the Dodgers join forces with Sportfive.
“All opportunities are important to us,” Neil Glat, co-president of Americas for Sportfive, said. “But the chance to work with the Dodgers on these premier sponsoring opportunities is something we’re thrilled to be a part of.”