The Coca-Cola Co. has officially ended its sponsorship with Major League Baseball (MLB) as the firm opts not to renew its current deal.
The soft drink manufacturer was an official sponsor for Baseball’s premier competition, with the two organisations agreeing a deal in 2017. However, AP News has revealed an email by a Coca-Cola spokeswoman Kate Hartman that the firm has decided to change its marketing strategy.
The email read: “Following a review of all Coca-Cola North America marketing assets at the conclusion of 2019, we made the decision to end our national sponsorship with MLB. We will continue to support 16 MLB teams at the local level.”
Prior to Coca-Cola’s sponsorship, company rivals PepsiCo held MLB’s national soft drink rights for almost two decades from 1997 – 2016. Nevertheless as Coca-Cola alluded to, the company will still remain a prominent figure in MLB due to its 16 local-level contracts with the organisation’s teams.
MLB has been adamant that it will have a 2020 season after its campaign was postponed due to the global health pandemic. However, a schedule has yet to be confirmed with discussions still taking place as to how the league will commence.
The latest restart proposal, reported by ESPN, was by the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) in which the season would have a reduced campaign of 89 games, with full prorated salaries, and expanded playoffs. Despite the proposal being offered, an MLB source told ESPN that the plan will be considered a ‘nonstarter’ further delaying an official decision from the organisation.
MLBPA’s proposal was in response to the Baseball federation’s plan to complete a 76 game season, with MLB players earning 75 per cent of their prorated wages.
One of America’s biggest competitions has yet to play a single game so far this campaign with the decision made to postpone the competition on 12 March, before its season opener later that month.