Bleacher Report Continues Commerce Push, Adds Pedro Martinez To Its World Tour Clothing Collection

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Fresh off its World Tour Collection clothing launches for Dwayne Wade and Mariano Rivera this year, Bleacher Report has partnered with Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martinez, in efforts to sell apparel to fans commemorating the player’s 18-year baseball career.

The campaign is the latest for Bleacher Report’s growing e-commerce team launched last year, as the Turner-owned media company attempts to grow revenue through branded content, merchandise, and offering unique sports experiences to fans.

According to Bleacher Report’s Head of Commerce Jake Cohen, the World Tour Collection brings together sports and hip hop culture at a time when memorabilia is becoming more of a fashion statement among consumers.

“We wanted to create a collection that we could easily repeat, and tap into memories that last a lifetime,” said Cohen. “The problem with merchandise right now is people are racing to capitalize on moments that are exciting for 24 hours, but are not necessarily relevant beyond that.”

Earlier World Tour Collections, tied to Wade’s retirement and Rivera’s induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame this summer, were deemed successful by Bleacher Report, as items for both athletes sold out soon after release. Select items, however, do remain available following reorders by the company.

Bleacher Report declined to provide total sales for the aforementioned individual campaigns and revenue expectations for its newest World Tour Collection release. However, the company is already in discussions with athletes for 2020 editions of its growing series. In all cases, Bleacher Report and the respective athletes split revenue, according to the company.

“Our plan is to grow our e-commerce business, which launched roughly 18 months ago, while also testing and learning from everything we do,” Cohen said.

Bleacher Report has found similar success with its NBA Remix campaign, debuting in partnership with the league and retailer Mitchell & Ness in March. The campaign launched with Houston rapper Travis Scott donning customized Rockets gear in an ad campaign, and sold out in less than an hour.

Apparel for Bleacher Report’s Martinez rollout will be limited to t-shirts and sweatshirts to start, but the organization may also drop customized apparel in the near future – similar to customized bomber jackets and jerseys for its original Wade campaign, Cohen said.

One of the expected fan favorites for the new collection is a sweatshirt that pays homage to the 20th anniversary of Martinez’s game 5 performance during the 1999 American League Division Series against the Cleveland Indians. In that game, Martinez pitched six innings of no-hit baseball in relief, en route to a series win. Martinez also won the Cy Young award that season.

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Bleacher Report said it expects to see its largest sales spike in the early days of the launch. But the company will also use its parent company as a means to promote the new lineup and sustain demand. The collection was promoted during the pregame telecast of game 1 of the 2019 National League Championship Series – Martinez works as a baseball analyst on the program.