MLB reaches unique sponsorship deal with Sheraton Hotels and Resorts

Rob Manfred

Major League Baseball has another new sponsorship agreement in 2015, this time with Sheraton Hotels & Resorts and Starwood Preferred Guest. The deal makes Sheraton the “Official Hotel of Major League Baseball” and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) as the “Official Hotel Loyalty Program of Major League Baseball.”

Financial terms were not released. It does add to as much as $275 million in new sponsorship deals for MLB this year.

But it is how MLB is integrating the sponsorship based on an executive leadership restructure under commissioner Rob Manfred that continues a cross-pollination between the various arms of the league.

In a unique synergy, starting in 2016, guests and elite SPG members will get complimentary access to MLB.TV, the premium streaming service of the league, as well as MLB Network. On top of the that, custom Starwood booking widgets will be located on and participating teams’ schedule pages. That activation will allow for fans to book travel to see their favorite teams on the road directly from MLB’s web pages. In doing so, the sponsorship deal traverses multiple arms of the league, something that was difficult prior to Manfred’s tenure when business arms within the league were fragmented.

“This new partnership will provide MLB content and unique experiences to Sheraton guests and SPG members, offering baseball fans an attractive benefit when making a hotel choice,” said Noah Garden, MLB Executive Vice President, Business.  “In addition, MLB will deliver enormous visibility to millions of passionate baseball fans, giving Sheraton an important platform to showcase its new brand positioning.”

The deal provides premium access such as meet and greets, and batting practice with players, as well as exclusive ticket deals. So, the sponsorship allows fans to stream games, and get perks along the way.

Commissioner Manfred’s restructuring of the executive leadership of the league has been deemed “One Baseball.” Said Manfred of the reorg of baseball’s senior leadership as it relates to sponsorship agreements: “The new sponsors attracted to MLB are due to being able to sell across multiple platforms. That was responsive to an overall desire in the market and a huge driver in the sponsorship space.”

Follow Maury Brown on Twitter @BizballMaury

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