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Cartoon Network, Minor League Baseball Partner to Bring Cartoons to the Ballpark

As the summer heats up, Cartoon Network is bringing its shows to the ballpark through its new partnership with Minor League Baseball.

John Collins



cartoons-minor-league-baseball-Cartoon Network

Peanuts, Cracker Jack, and … cartoons? 

That’s right, there’s an eye-catching new partnership that has us longing for our youth and wishing summers were forever. Several weeks ago, Minor League Baseball announced a unique collaboration with Cartoon Network on its “Best Summer Ever” initiative, which seamlessly combines baseball games and Cartoon Network original series, delighting both kids and adults alike.

Minor League Baseball’s VP of Business and Development Gerald Jones explained how this partnership came about, saying that “Cartoon Network was looking to expand its ‘Best Summer Ever’ marketing initiative, and wanted to reach communities that overlap with — perfectly, actually — the Minor League Baseball footprint.” 

Cartoon Network is aspiring to reach a national, diverse fan base looking for safe, family fun and entertainment at a value. Coincidentally, that’s precisely the audience that Minor League Baseball caters to and specializes in. 

As Jones pointed out, “we offer a family-fun atmosphere on a night-in and night-out basis at 159 ballparks nationwide, giving CN the opportunity to display content on video boards to crowds eager for precisely what their network is providing.” 

Cartoon Network series featured throughout the promotion include “The Amazing World of Gumball,” “Craig of the Creek,” “Teen Titans Go!” and “We Bare Bears.” The partnership encompasses a total of 50 games at 15 different minor league ballparks, with multiple “Best Summer Ever” promos scheduled at each venue. 

The promos themselves entail a pre-game activation built around two 11-minute intervals of Cartoon Network original programming that air on the stadium video board. During the game itself, the partnership continues with CN previews and teasers interspersed throughout the game, and after the final inning, the participating stadiums air another 11-minute interval of network programming. 

MiLB and Cartoon Network have been happy with the results of the collaboration thus far. Jones described the “Best Summer Ever” program as a resounding success for all involved, noting that “as with any partnership it fits a variety of parameters important to both sides.” 

“This campaign lines up perfectly with Minor League Baseball’s vision,” he said. “The league aims to create industry-leading value for fans, member clubs, local communities, and partners. When you roll that into this partnership, and what Cartoon Network is about, it ‘checks all the boxes,’ if you will.” 

For the network, it gets access to a broad platform with minor league ball clubs known for their penchant in designing creative, engaging, innovative promotional campaigns that attract families and crowds of all types. 

“That’s what our entire league is built on and about,” Jones stated. “Here, you see it all — Family Night, Dollar Dog Night, Student Night, Super Hero Day, etc. For teams in the minor leagues, it’s all about keeping fans interested and engaged. The entire emphasis is really on the experience and the atmosphere.” 

It’s precisely that audience Cartoon Network’s marketing team is striving to reach. In turn, the network has a ready-made audience looking for exactly the kind of content Cartoon Network programming provides. 

Having cartoons and being associated with fun characters kids are familiar with keeps the much younger fan base interested and engaged. What youngster wouldn’t enjoy watching baseball with his or her favorite cartoon character involved or in attendance, and getting to see the shows they watch outdoors on an enormous screen?

That connection and association creates yet another draw to the MiLB games for parents hoping to entertain their kids and keep them happy. It may even make it easier for some baseball fans, helping them bring their otherwise reluctant children out to more games just to see the cartoons and festivities. Collaborating with Cartoon Network also provides a reservoir for content creation and novelty that the league can use for future marketing designed to grow the game. 

The win-win relationship Jones mentioned has been proven, as teams involved in the “Best Summer Ever” partnership have seen an uptick in enthusiasm and the always-important ticket sales. 

“It’s definitely been successful for us,” Jones stated, “because we have clubs not part of the initial rollout asking how they can get involved with the Cartoon Network partnership going forward.” 

It’s common practice for different teams to take note of what works around the league and do what they can to emulate the promotions and marketing strategies that are most effective. 

Jones and MiLB are hoping to expand the partnership in the future, involving more clubs around the league on a more robust, comprehensive basis. Jones said that some teams already do things similar to this campaign, but all of that is conducted on an individual, team-by-team basis. Bringing it all under one umbrella in the same Cartoon Network collaboration would create a single, unified, cohesive campaign that the league can better work into their overall marketing strategy. 

Here’s hoping that Minor League Baseball and Cartoon Network’s “Best Summer Ever” gets even better next year. 

A Communication major from the University of Southern California, with eclectic experience in the sports, business, and the entertainment industry, John Collins is the baseball writer at Front Office Sports. An avid sports fan and highly opinionated writer, John is of the firm belief that Bull Durham is far superior to Field of Dreams and looks forward to you telling him otherwise. Reach out: any time!


Teams and Leagues Cozy Up to CBD Brands

The sports world is beginning to bring CBD companies into the fold, marking a significant milestone for the CBD industry.

Front Office Sports



Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

*This piece first appeared in the Front Office Sports Newsletter. Subscribe today and get the news before anyone else.

As teams and leagues look for emerging partner opportunities, CBD brands are showcasing that they aren’t afraid to spend when it comes to sports partnerships. 

While not really a thought in the minds of professionals more than a year ago, CBD presents both a revenue opportunity and an interesting challenge for teams and leagues.

How did this happen?

Before the enactment of the new nationwide 2018 Farm Bill. there wasn’t much mainstream conversation around CBD. Since then, the category has exploded across both retail and sports.

When the bill passed, it legalized industrial hemp by removing it from the controlled substances list and allowing tribes, states, and territories to establish regulatory structures within their boundaries that allow farmers and ranchers to produce a high-value cash crop while retaining federal farm program benefits that were previously not allowed.

Teams and leagues are starting to find interest…

Just this past week, the Portland Pickles became the first baseball team with a CBD partner.

Before that, the Big3 signed a deal with cbdMD that made the brand the official CBD partner of the upstart basketball league. 

And, ahead of this weekend’s Indianapolis 500, Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports announced its partnership with DEFY – a CBD-based sports performance drink.

The only problem with this partnership is that the drivers of the car can’t drink the drink due to the fact that CBD is on IndyCar’s banned substance list

Who’s sponsoring what?

Below you will find a list of some of the CBD and cannabis-related partnerships that have been signed recently.

Las Vegas Lights / NuWu Cannabis Marketplace

Big3 / cbdMD

Portland Pickles / Lazarus Naturals

Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports / DEFY

Jonathan Byrd’s Racing / Liquid Gold Processing

RC Enerson / Craft 1861

It’s not just teams and leagues…

While the bigger deals might get more attention, CBD companies have also struck deals with athletes. 

For example, Bubba Watson has a deal with cbdMD, the same brand that is sponsoring the Big3.

Before Watson, Scott McCarron signed an endorsement deal with Functional Remedies, a hemp manufacturing company.

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Are NFL Jersey Ads Next?

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May 15, 2019; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns linebacker Sione Takitaki (44) runs a drill during organized team activities at the Cleveland Browns training facility. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

*This piece first appeared in the Front Office Sports Newsletter. Subscribe today and get the news before anyone else.

Jersey ads aren’t an unfamiliar sight at NFL practices. Brands like Lecom and Hyundai are visible on the practice jerseys of the Browns and Cardinals respectively.

The one place jersey ads haven’t shown up is in regular season games. 

Could that be changing anytime soon?

Speaking with SI, an NFL spokesman said, “Never say never, but there are no current plans to pursue or explore.”

With what SI estimates to be $224 million in revenue being left on the table by not having patches on the jerseys, why would the league not consider it? 

According to those inside the industry, the NFL is concerned about conflicts of interest between teams who may have patches of competitors of current partners for opposing teams.   

The NBA has found success…

The NBA launched its jersey patch program in 2017 and as of March of 2019, every team in the league found themselves with a patch on their jersey. 

According to Terry Lefton and John Lombardo of SBJ, the patch program has generated more than $150 million for the league.

Another important stat is that of the 30 team patch sponsors, 20 are doing business with NBA teams for the first time.

At this point, not having ads is more unusual…

Even MLB, considered the most traditional of sports leagues in the U.S., has experimented with sponsor patches since 2000. Of the major sports leagues in the U.S., here’s a look at which ones have ads on their game jerseys and which ones don’t. 

NBA: Yes


MLS: Yes

NHL: No 


MLB: Yes (for special occasion games only – Mexico Series etc)

Internationally, teams are cashing in…

While soccer is somewhat different in that the advertising is not just a patch, but the primary part of a team’s uniform, the revenue potential can’t be argued. Here’s a look at what just five brands are paying international clubs, according to The 18.

Emirates / Real Madrid: $80 million per year 

Chevy / Man U: $68 million per year

Rakuten / Barcelona: $60 million per year

Emirates / Arsenal: $56 million per year

Yokohama / Chelsea: $51 million per year

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CohnReznick Sponsors a Dive Inside the Business of Baseball

Accounting firm CohnReznick shows the business of baseball in two video series with MLB, “Business of Baseball” and “Front Office Focus.”




CohnReznick MLB Videos
Photo Credit: Peter G. Aiken/USA TODAY Sports

Accounting firm CohnReznick is taking an authentic approach to its MLB sponsorship. Through a video series called Business of Baseball and Front Office Focus, CohnReznick lends its name to an inside look at professional baseball. The series is produced by MLB Network, where it airs, along with, and CohnReznick’s website.

MLB confirmed CohnReznick as a sponsor of the video series to FOS. The two parties collaborate on ideas, but MLB declined to speak on the sponsorship further.

“Our team really wanted something that was authentic, not just a way to slap our name onto something, but to own something,” says Frank Longobardi, CEO, CohnReznick. “We are able to align some of our core values with what’s being talked about in Business of Baseball and Front Office Focus. That makes us feel good, as we felt we could drive content and value with our strengths.”

READ MORE: MLB Flies Under the Radar With Sponsor Patches

While service-oriented companies have sponsored sports for decades, it’s becoming more common for non-consumer brands to find ways to cut through the clutter,” says Joe Favorito, a sports marketing and communications consultant.

“These companies are tying to something that resonates,” Favorito says. “Consumers have millions of choices. If it comes down to personal choice, they remember the company for who their spokesperson is or the story being told.”

The Business of Baseball series launched during December’s Baseball Winter Meetings, where CohnReznick was the presenting sponsor of the meetings for MLB Network. Over the course of the video sponsorship, there will be approximately six Business of Baseball videos and up to 35 Front Office Focus clips through the season.

“They’re topics, like hospitality and security, that are the same types of things we deal with our clients,” Longobardi says. “We wanted to show similarities of how Major League teams go through some of the same things our clients go through.”

Each of the videos feature commentators and baseball executives. Front Office Focus highlights discussions with executives from the league’s 30 teams about issues ranging from team strategies to club operations, while Business of Baseball looks into how franchises transform the game through analytics and management, but also how they redefine the fan experience.

A recent episode, “The Business of Food,” featured a look at how food experiences now play into a fan’s trip to a ballpark., like a sit-down interview with Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer by CohnReznick Managing Partner Cindy McLoughlin talking about how the game day experience has evolved to include a culinary aspect. The restaurant industry is evolving inside and outside the ballpark.

“When you look at stadiums and games, it’s not just about baseball anymore,” McLoughlin says. “Fans expect an overall experience. People get to stadiums to stand in line, they need to get their Shack Burger.

“That led us to Danny Meyer to really peel back why it’s a benefit to him and how those synergies line up.”

The video topics originated in a brainstorming session featuring CohnReznick’s team and  MLB. The topics center around issues with innovation and analytics to elevate customer experience and retain loyalty. From these conversations, MLB could consider matching a team with a relevant topic.

“It puts us front and center with a really good brand,” Longobardi says of the partnership. “In any business, you want to align yourself with good organizations, and this relationship does that well and connects the right type of people we’re trying to attract, the C-Suite individuals to middle market to small public companies.”

READ MORE: The MLBPA Has Embraced Athlete-Driven Marketing

The sponsorship has allowed CohnReznick to provide clients, potential clients and employees with strong relationship building opportunities at games and events.

“It really has allowed us to spend some time with key clients and be able to spend quality time with our employees and enjoy ourselves,” Longobardi says. “We can more closely align MLB brand with our clients and our staff, and that makes it a unique experience.”

By tying in with behind the scenes content, CohnReznick hopes to resonate with clients beyond just a name on the screen.

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