By: Zach Seybert, @zlseybert
Although Minor League Baseball (MiLB) seasons of all levels are starting to wind down, back-to-school season is just ramping up and Crayola saw a unique opportunity to enter the sports space. In a first-of-its-kind strategic partnership, Crayola, the worldwide leader in children’s creative expression products, has announced that it will become a “Preferred Partner” of Minor League Baseball and a number of its teams.
The partnership is set to begin in 2017 and the Minor League Baseball brand will be featured on select Crayola packaging throughout key retailers, according to the release. Crayola has been a go-to brand for families with young kids when they need new crayons or colored pencils, among other art supplies. Capitalizing on its popularity, the company aims to appeal to Minor League Baseball’s family-centric fan base with its line of outdoor products during the baseball season or the summer months.
“Crayola is excited to be teaming up with Minor League Baseball,” said Mimi Dixon, Customer Development & Activation for Crayola. “It’s the first sports sponsorship of its kind for Crayola and we are planning to surprise and delight families next season with fun, color and creativity.”
In addition to having branded products, the partnership focuses on creating memorable experiences. For those who have never attended a Minor League game at any level, I strongly recommend it, as the games are truly a family experience focused around the great game of baseball. Given some of the remote locations of these teams, attendance might not be very high and the stadiums are just a fraction of the size of the MLB parent clubs. This creates a cozy, family environment at the games and fans are often given an opportunity to partake in in-game promotions, whether that is in between innings, on the field or throughout the concourse. In line with memorable experiences, the two brands will host a “Crayola All-Star Experience Sweepstakes,” which will “provide consumers the opportunity to get unprecedented access and an up close and personal look into MiLB.” Fans will also be able to participate in other exclusive experiences at select ballparks. Given today’s level of connectedness and the focus on the digital space, an integrated media plan designed to connect Crayola to MiLB’s growing fan base is also in development.
Minor League Baseball teams around the nation have made headlines with their unique promotions, including, but not limited to, unique jersey nights (Star Wars themed, etc.) and bobble heads of former, now Major League, players. Some of the most memorable from this season, thus far, have been the Fresno Grizzles, Triple-A affiliate of the Houston Astros, and their alternate jerseys, which can be seen to the right.
“Regardless of the generation, Crayola stands as an iconic brand synonymous with family fun entertainment for all ages,” said David Wright, Minor League Baseball’s Chief Marketing & Commercial Officer. “A strategic relationship between Crayola and MiLB simply makes sense. We are delighted to welcome Crayola to the growing MiLB family.”