North America’s Major League Baseball has entered into a partnership with HBO that will centre on the promotion of the US pay-television broadcaster’s hit series, Game of Thrones.
At least 19 MLB teams are set to be involved in the partnership, which will result in the development of co-branded merchandise, ticket offers, giveaways, themed nights and social media campaigns during the 2017 season.
According to the Deadline.com website, the promotional offerings will vary by team. Deadline also reported that the promotions would not take place during the MLB All-Star Game, but would cross over to the league’s apps and digital properties.
MLB has an existing relationship with HBO, with the broadcaster’s HBO Now streaming service powered by BAMTech, the video technology business of the league's interactive media arm, MLB Advanced Media.
It is hoped the partnership will make MLB more attractive to the millennial audience. It will act to promote season seven of Game of Thrones, which is yet to be given a firm launch date.
MLB executive vice-president of business, Noah Garden, told Deadline: “What people fail to look at when it comes to MLB is that we were the first to stream our games online and the first to launch an app — long before any other sport did. Our millennials went to those platforms right away…. The curse is that it gave the perception to some that we’ve become an older sport, which really couldn’t be farther from the truth.”
Garden added that the cross promotion with Game of Thrones “starts to tell a different story.”
The teams currently said to be planning on participating in the partnership are the Arizona Diamondbacks, Boston Red Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Sox, Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers, Kansas City Royals, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, Oakland Athletics, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Seattle Mariners, San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, Texas Rangers, Tampa Bay Rays and Washington Nationals.
The 2017 MLB campaign begins next month. Season seven of Game of Thrones, which is based on the series of fantasy novels written by George R. R. Martin, is due to air on HBO this summer.