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In-Season Update: MLB Uniform Sponsorships

As we previously reported, the new Major League Baseball (MLB) collective bargaining agreement, finalized in early 2022, allows MLB teams to license sponsor logo patches on team jersey sleeves and sponsor logo decals on team batting helmets beginning with the 2023 season.

Jersey Patch Sponsorships

Thus far, approximately two months into the 2023 MLB season, 11 of the 30 MLB teams have finalized a jersey patch sponsorship and have begun to play games with sponsor logo patches included on team uniforms.  Numerous other teams are reportedly actively pursuing jersey patch partners, including the New York Yankees, San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Texas Rangers, among others. The MLB teams that have finalized jersey patch sponsorships, along with their respective jersey patch sponsors, are listed below.

Notably, the jersey sleeve patches are strategically positioned to enhance visibility on television broadcasts: on the left sleeve for right-handed batters, on the right sleeve for left-handed batters, on the glove-side sleeve for pitchers, and on the right sleeve for the manager and coaches.

Batting Helmet Sponsorships

Although reports initially suggested that MLB teams would also be able to license batting helmet sponsorship positions under the new collective bargaining agreement, currently no MLB team has unveiled a batting helmet sponsor, and how and when this sponsorship asset will be made available and activated remains unclear. It is not known whether MLB will retain the batting helmet advertising position as a league asset to be licensed by MLB for league-controlled events (e.g., playoffs, World Series, Field of Dreams game, international games, etc.) or whether it will be made available as a team asset for license by individual teams for regular-season games.

But so far, the batting helmet advertising position has been treated as a league asset. For example, during the 2023 World Baseball Classic that took place in early March, batting helmets of Team USA featured the logo of T-Mobile, a prominent MLB league-wide partner. In addition, for the 2023 Mexico City Series games between the San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres that took place at the end of April, MLB licensed the batting helmet decal position for both teams to ARZYZ Metals, a Mexican manufacturing company. Also, for the Mexico City Series games, MLB licensed the jersey sleeve position for both teams to Banorte, a Mexican financial services company, which replaced the jersey sleeve position of the San Diego Padres’ jersey patch partner, Motorola, for the three-game series.

Existing Jersey Sleeve Sponsorships

San Diego Padres: Motorola

Boston Red Sox: Mass Mutual

Arizona Diamondbacks: Avnet

Los Angeles Angels: FBM

Cincinnati Reds: Kroger

Houston Astros: Oxy

Miami Marlins: ADT

New York Mets: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

St. Louis Cardinals: Stifel

Atlanta Braves: QUIKRETE

Detroit Tigers: MEIJER

© 2023 ArentFox Schiff LLPNational Law Review, Volume XIII, Number 158

About this Author

Richard L. Brand Partner ArentFox Schiff LLP

Rich focuses on sports law, real estate and corporate transactions, e-commerce, hospitality and leisure, and partnership and corporate law.

Rich is recognized as a leading sports attorney by Chambers USA, a “Leading Lawyer” in sports by Legal 500, and as a leading real estate attorney by Best Lawyers and Legal 500Best Lawyers has also recognized Rich as a “Lawyer of the Year” for his high-profile sports work. Chambers USA notes, “he is highly regarded for his expertise in representing both...

Zak Welsh Associate ArentFox Schiff LLP

Zak’s practice focuses on advising clients on corporate and transactional matters in the sports, entertainment, media, and real estate industries. Zak has considerable experience representing professional sports franchises, owners and operators of professional sports and entertainment venues, sponsors in connection with naming rights transactions, sponsorship transactions, facility and event leasing and licensing, advertising and promotional agreements, suite and club seat licensing, and other related matters.

In addition to his sports and...