Major League Baseball is ready to start fielding sponsorship bids for one of the most popular sports innovations in years: the pitch clock.
Baseball could reap tens of millions in new sponsorship fees by allowing a global marketer such as Timex, Omega, or Rolex to attach its brand to the new “pitch timer,” which is shortening games by a half-hour this season.
“MLB is open for business,” said one source.
An MLB-wide sponsorship with a watchmaker or technology company would be worth $10 million or more a year, estimated Bob Dorfman, a sports marketing analyst at Pinnacle Advertising.
“That’s worth eight figures or more,” he said, especially if the sponsor’s brand is standardized and visible behind the batter.
MLB’s 30 teams could also sell local pitch clock sponsorship for millions apiece.
“I would think any time-related company would jump on it. Particularly this season. It’s got so much attention. It’s successful, “ Dorfman said. “Everybody seems to be loving it. Any watch- or time-related company would jump all over it. Even TIME magazine.”
MLB started 2023 with 35 corporate sponsors, including Budweiser, Nike, Mastercard, FanDuel, T-Mobile, and Taco Bell.
Global watch brands have long sponsored sports, teams and leagues.
Tissot is currently the official timekeeper of the NBA. Rolex has been an international partner of The Masters tournament since 2008. Rolex also serves as the official timekeeper of the United States Golf Association and championships.
Timex and the UFC announced a global sponsorship/licensing deal in late 2021. The company’s long-running “Takes a Licking and Keeps On Ticking” campaign aired for years on the Super Bowl.
MLB declined to comment.