The relative quiet of post-MLB All-Star will soon give way to NFL Training camp and one of the most active times of the year for baseball before the pennant races kick in…the MLB Trading Deadline. The Trading Deadline, now at the end of July, grabs a lion share of the media and public attention, even if it is just for select hours at a time. Fans fret and wonder, experts ponder, talk shows speculate, blogs fill up as player movement is rumored and franchise futures hang in the balance. While some may say that the days are examples of healthy franchises taking the hammer to the less fortunate, in reality the days are all about hype, hope and possibility for every team, even those not making moves. The ability to send positive messages even with inaction is high, and it is a prime time for fan engagement.
Like National Signing Day in college for football, there is a media frenzy with blockbuster moves, hurried press conferences and lots of attention, whether your team is good or not. In recent years, media outlets like ESPN and CBS College have gone to great lengths to brand and activate on signing day, but why not on trading deadline day?
Now the outlets like MLB Network and MLB.com are tied to all things trade deadline, even bringing in brands like Old Spice on MLB Network as a sponsor of all things in the rumor mill. However the ownership of the deadline, and the activity surrounding the week, still comes and goes. For all the millions financial houses spend on sport, no one steps forward to own all things about trades, replete with fan interaction that can reward those who are on, or well off, with trade predictions as the deadline comes.
Granted many trades do happen the day before or a few days before. However the activity leading up to the deadline, which is a hard and fast time, is phenomenal, and summary shows, best trades/worst trades, smartest mover, smartest not to move etc., could all be packaged together for brands that already spend or might want to find yet another unique way to engage with unique content. Especially now with the immediacy of social media to deliver eyeballs and buzz, there are any number of platforms that can be creatively engaged to deliver the latest and greatest around the hype and results of such big move days for MLB. Now baseball is not the only sport that lives and dies with the deadline for fans. The NBA has its mega-activity day as well, and that also goes relatively unscathed in terms of broad scale activation.
Say what you want about good preying on bad or weak, the trading deadline for baseball sits right in the middle of a long run of summer baseball, and remains one of the solid activation days on the sports calendar yet to find a true brand owner.