In a bid for young eyeballs, Major League Baseball is going from baseball bat to selfie stick.
The league signed a multi-year deal with Snapchat to bring the media and messaging app onto the field. Snapchat and baseball announced the deal today, after trying out the partnership last year, when they ran stories inside the app from baseball games. Snapchat has a similar deal with the National Football League, only not quite as deep, now.
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There was no money exchanged in the deal, according to sources, but it is about sharing revenue from the video ads that run amid the baseball content.
“Snapchat is making itself more appealing to brands in terms of data, targeting, and partnerships. It is positioning itself to be a media company that matters over the long haul,” said David Berkowitz, the CMO of MRY.
For its part, the MLB has an old people problem. Baseball has the oldest fans of the four major U.S. professional sports; the median age of the 2015 World Series audience was 54.6 years, according to Nielsen. (To be fair, that is down from last season’s record high of 55.6 years.) A deal with Snapchat could, the league clearly hopes, drive that number lower this year.
Snapchat did not say exactly how the sponsorships will be negotiated, whether from its in-house ad team or from baseball. However, Major League Baseball does come with a host of its own sponsors.
With past football deals, like one for the Super Bowl, the league and Snapchat worked closely with advertisers to make sure they were developing ads that fit the platform. During the Super Bowl, only official game advertisers were allowed to run ads in the Snapchat story from the game.
Snapchat has been growing its range of content for more than a year, first with Live Stories that show videos from special events and locations daily. Then it opened Discover, a place for channels from top media companies like Vice, BuzzFeed and MTV.
It recently brought in Tribeca Film Festival to share short films in a pop-up channel. Snapchat’s strategy has been characterized as modern-day cable provider.
In this new MLB arrangement, Snapchat said it’s the first time a social media platform will be allowed on the field during games. Teams will have what’s being called a SnapBat, but really it’s just a glorified selfie stick.
“Snapchat will cover MLB games and events, including Opening Day, the All-Star Game and the Postseason, with access to official MLB logos, marks and exclusive behind-the-scenes content featuring the game’s biggest stars and its iconic ballparks,” Snapchat said in a statement announcing the deal.
Snapchat also reached a deal this week with Fidelity Investments, raising another $175 million, and maintaining its $16 billion valuation, according to The Wall Street Journal.
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