There was a story on the Saturday local news about Little League Baseball in the San Diego area.
In it, they profiled one Little League that had abandoned the use of ML team names for their teams in the league. They are either going with colors (Kearny Mesa Blue, Red, etc), or college teams. Can you imagine being 10 years old and playing for the Oklahoma Sooners as your little league team?
Why is this?
Because in their infinite attempts to grab as much revenue as they possibly can, MLB charges a fee to Little Leagues across the country to use MLB team names/logos for their teams. MLB claims this is because of their exclusive licensing agreement with Majestic. So, leagues who still want to use MLB team names are forced to buy their equipment from a Majestic dealer, which, as you might expect, costs a little bit more than the t-shirt screening shop down the street.
While this may make sense from a business perspective, it makes absolutely no sense from a marketing perspective.
They are poisoning the well for these kids, the future fans of MLB. What fun is it to play for the Kearny Mesa Blue, when you used to play for the Kearny Mesa Padres (sponsored by, perhaps, Dairy Queen)? So you become a fan of the Blue Man Group or Blue Monday or Blue Period instead of the Padres. Nice going, MLB.
This doesn’t just apply to replicating the exact uniform shirts of major league teams. You write “Giants” on a shirt that’s a little league team jersey, and MLB will come calling for it’s fee.
I’m not trying to scare up new revenue streams for MLB, but you know there are parents out there who wear the apparel of the team their son/daughter plays for. To show support, to be involved. All that potential revenue lost.
And, kids are exposed at an all-too early age to the greed and callousness of contemporary life in these United States. You can’t wear the White Sox logo because your league can’t afford to pay the already overly rich MLB organization their prohibitive licensing fee.
I don’t know if we can fight this, but I’m going to try. I ask all the Cardinal blogs out there to link to this story. Email MLB telling them, politely, what schmucks they are. Tell your friends too so they can get involved. Tell other team blogs. Tell anyone who cares.
This kind of nonsense has to stop.