Packaging Baseball

How Marketing Embellishes the Cultural Experience


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About the Book

Walk through any major or minor league park today and the sights, sounds, and smells of baseball overwhelm. Teams long ago figured out that this immersive quality is a powerful draw, and the “fan experience” has been a major force in their marketing plans.
In recent years, advancing technology has altered not only that experience, which now includes LED video boards and blasts of digital music, but the marketing and revenue opportunities for the game. Fans all over the world can subscribe to video and audio streams, acquire credit cards emblazoned with team logos, and follow their favorite players through league-sanctioned blogs. Baseball’s ambition and reach are now truly global.
Focusing on the game’s dual identities as pastime and economic engine, the authors examine the ways that baseball is packaged, promoted and consumed in the United States and, increasingly, abroad.

About the Author(s)

Mathew J. Bartkowiak is a former associate professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Marshfield/Wood County. He received his Ph.D. from the Department of American Studies at Michigan State University.
Yuya Kiuchi is an assistant professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Michigan State University. His research interests include popular culture, youth culture, African American Studies, technology, and sexuality.

Bibliographic Details

Mathew J. Bartkowiak and Yuya Kiuchi
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 216
Bibliographic Info: bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6132-5
eISBN: 978-0-7864-9251-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Introduction      1

1. More Than the Crack of the Bat: “Walk-on Music” and Popular Music in Major League Baseball      9

2. Bobbleheads and the Bottom Line: Giveaways in Major League Baseball      26

3. Everything but the Players: The Game-Used Memorabilia Market      42

4. Making the Mark: The Life of MLB Logos      59

5. From Pastime to Obsession: Major League Baseball and Its Media Strategy      77

6. Telling the Story: Creating the History of Baseball      94

7. Commodore Selig: The Importance of Japanese Baseball Players in Major League Baseball      114

8. It’s All About the Capital: Major League Baseball and Its Capital-Driven International Strategies in the World Baseball Classic and the Olympics      132

9. MLB in Japan and Around the Globe: An Interview with Jim Small of MLB      151

10. The Globalization of MLB and Its Consequences      166

Conclusion      186

Afterword      188

Works Cited      191

Index      203

Book Reviews & Awards

“[The] book performs admirably at the task of explaining and analyzing the part that baseball plays in the global marketplace, where MLB utilizes the sport, the players, and the fans a financial asset in order to sustain and increase its hold as a business behemoth.”—Journal of Popular Culture.