College Baseball Opening Day…Missed Branding Opportunit.

I will start this off by saying this was not my idea today, but it is a good one I had wondered about for a while. It is Vince Wladika, former head of PR for Fox and now a consultant with a number of solid clients, and a college baseball nut. Friday, according to the site is the official “unofficial” start of the college baseball season in America. No less than 75 games are played across the South and the West, with many involving teams from the Northeast and the Midwest on Neutral sites or in tournaments. No less than 15 of the top 20 will be in action, and it is a great day to watch live baseball, after the Caribbean Series ends and before spring training games begin. A perfect opportunity to bridge college athletics and baseball on a weekend with little to no competition. Yet there is not one college game on TV…no branding by the NCAA, no USA Today preview, no sponsor-generated branding program before spring break that can touch on the hundreds of athletes from no less than 20 countries playing today and over the weekend. Although it is not a money maker in most places, college baseball still remains one of the better activation points on the digital and athlete side in sports. It has a four month season, embraces a game that most sports fans in North America can identify with and usually has a host of throwback athletes with great stories. Now the weather issue is an obvious problem, but if a Nike's Phil Knight could make an investment to bring back the Oregon program this year, why wouldn’t other innovative brands look to at least build out opening baseball weekend as a stand alone kickoff to all things about the National Pastim. Good question, good innovative opportunity yet to be answered…and a good point out by Vince.