MLB grants international rights to teams in a process similar to the NFL –

Major League Baseball is divided international Among its franchises, giving teams new trading rights in specific regions around the world, according to several people familiar with the plan.

In a process similar to carried one last year before NFLAll MLB The team has been invited to submit proposals for up to three international markets where they’d like to be able to sign sponsorship deals or host events for fans, the people said, who were given anonymity because the details are private. The association collected those proposals in January and approved them shortly thereafter.

The plan is designed to help MLB capitalize on the global popularity of baseball, while harnessing the resources, workforce, and brand strength of individual teams. Some franchises have more resources than others, and some teams may have more importance in certain markets by virtue of geography or menu composition. The Houston AstrosFor example, he may be interested in obtaining additional rights in Venezuela to take advantage of popularity For the 2017 MLS Player of the Year, Jose Altuve.

“Everyone has different parts of the world they care about,” MLB chief revenue officer Noah Garden said in an interview. “So we decided to test it by letting each club chase those areas to generate more business or get new partners.”

One person said that some of the more mature international markets in MLB, such as Japan and South Korea, have been withheld from the program because there are already a number of partners with rights at the league level. It is not clear exactly which teams got rights in any specific areas.

International growth is a priority for all of the major American leagues, and the popularity of baseball gives it a springboard in a handful of markets. Baseball and softball are played by as much as they can 65 million people Globally, according to their international governing body, with concentrations in parts of Asia, Europe and South/Central America.

In the past decade, the league has played games in Puerto Rico, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Japan and Australia, and such games will come with an increase repeat in the coming years. MLB, which has five International officesHe was also a partner in the World Baseball Classic, and is scheduled to return in 2023.

The new rights were intentionally granted around the time MLB teams were given the green light to begin Selling advertising space on their shirts. In other sports, shirt patches have attracted a number of international companies. MLB teams can now enter into partnerships with foreign companies that also include rights to further that link in the company’s home market.

Under previous league rules, the MLB centrally controls international business opportunities. Each team has its own exclusive business footprint – which varies in size by team – but has been severely restricted in out-of-home business deals. A Dominican company can sponsor a team within its home market, but it cannot open a group store or hold fan events in the Dominican Republic.

Last year, the NFL ran a little more complex process To grant international rights to its teams. NFL clubs were invited to submit detailed five-year marketing plans for how they would approach overseas markets, after which the league was granted exclusive or joint exclusive rights.

In December, the NFL Charged 26 different overseas markets for a group of 18 participating teams. Nine rights clubs were awarded in Mexico, six in the United Kingdom and four in Germany. Revenue generated by those teams in those markets would be shared across the league, but at a smaller percentage than ticket revenue — the original scheme required 20% of total revenue over $1 million, starting in the program’s third year.

The MLB plan also covers only a few years at first. Revenue generated by MLB clubs in their international markets will be treated the same way as revenue generated in the domestic market, according to one of the people.