People who try to compare the television ratings between the National Football League (NFL) and Major League Baseball (MLB) like to say that MLB is Mickey Mouse compared to the NFL. Well these people tend to forget that the Mouse is pretty big, despite showing weakness tied to the economy. Now to make the Mickey Mouse title more official, Sports Business Journal (SBJ) is reporting that MLB has entered into a cross-licensing agreement with Disney.
According to SBJ:
The licensing program will include caps, apparel, novelties and possibly children’s footwear. While some limited product combining Mickey Mouse and other classic Disney cartoon characters with MLB logos could be at retail as soon as next month, the program will officially launch at retail in and around the July 13 All-Star Game being held in Disney’s hometown of Anaheim.
Another part of the agreement will see Mickey Mouse/MLB statues placed throughout Anaheim during All-Star Week, similar to the Gateway Arch models scattered around St. Louis last July and the Statue of Liberty/MLB-logoed replicas around New York City during the 2008 All-Star Game. About 67,000 10-inch-tall replicas of those MLB Statues of Liberty were sold. Given the power of Mickey Mouse and other venerable Disney cartoon characters at retail, MLB hopes that 100,000 of those replica statues will be purchased this year.
Is MLB jumping the shark in trying to get more kids interested in baseball? If so, they might do better by lowering ticket prices for kids and families. Of course that is not going to happen.
So as this deal goes forward, let's hope that ESPN MLB telecasts will not be featuring Molly Cyrus, the cast of High School Musical, or other Disney-nurtured musical "talent" singing the National Anthem live on air, or that the Jonas Brothers don't throw out any first pitches. If this does happen, the ratings might just go in the wrong direction.
You can read the full article over on the Sports Business Journal web site.