Ed Note: The following appears courtesy Bloguin's MLB blog The Outside Corner.
“I want my MLB!”
The twist on the iconic 1980’s “I want my MTV!” promotional campaign for the network seems like a fitting way to announce a new multi-year partnership between Major League Baseball and MTV. Under the deal announced this morning via press release, MLB and MTV will collaborate on a new half-hour weekly 30-episode series devoted to baseball to be broadcast on MTV2, MTV’s sibling network that targets men. The series will be a showcase for MLB players and player personalities and 2013 World Series MVP David Ortiz and Pirates’ All-Star Andrew McCutchen have signed on as executive producers. The two players’ largest roles in the project will be helping to recruit players to participate.
“Players want to be musicians and the musicians want to be players,” Ortiz said. “So it’s going to be pretty easy to get my friends in baseball to have some fun on MTV.”
The untitled series will debut in April 2014 and will be hosted at the MLB Fan Cave, MLB’s unique space in New York City which mixes baseball with music, pop culture, media, interactive technology and art. Since the Fan Cave’s introduction for the 2011 baseball season, the space has hosted hundreds of MLB players as a way to showcase player personalities and attract younger male fans to counteract the game’s aging demographic.
"The MLB Fan Cave has been an enormous success in showcasing the personalities of our star players to young fans and intersecting baseball with pop culture,” said Tim Brosnan, Executive Vice President, Business, Major League Baseball. “Being able to partner with MTV on a weekly TV series will give us an opportunity to bring that concept to an even broader audience. We are excited to work with the creative team at MTV to develop content that our fans will enjoy."
In fact, according to the AP news story about the new partnership and series, it was a Fan Cave video from 2011 that helped spur on the collaboration. Brosnan said that MTV saw the below video showing Ortiz walking throughout New York City, asking Yankee fans for a hug and was intrigued by Big Papi’s bigger than life personality.
The player features for the new series won't necessarily be filmed entirely at the Fan Cave. If MTV wants to do a remote piece on a player’s extensive sneaker collection — as an example think of MTV Cribs meets the 2005 ESPN show “It’s the Shoes” — they will visit the player on location. But the types of short videos that the Fan Cave has created over the past few seasons to be shared online will be the starting point and the plan is for this television series to be the next level evolution.
“Music is a passion of mine so when I was asked to be involved in a show that brings baseball to MTV, I jumped at it,” said Andrew McCutchen. “It is going to be a lot of fun to show a different side of baseball and the players.”
According to the MLB release, content from the new partnership will live on-air and online across MTV’s channels and platforms – MTV, MTV2, mtvU, MTV Hits and MTV Jams – integrating MLB players into existing shows and events, in addition to the development of upcoming specials, weekend programming and more. Additional details will be announced at a later date.
This is exciting news for MLB. It's a great opportunity to showcase player personalities and reach younger viewers and fans. Having Ortiz and McCutchen on board from the outset can only help the credibility of the project among both fans and players, as both are well-liked. It will be interesting to see how the show fares and what kind of content is generated.