Major League Baseball is teaming up with Hollywood in a unique marketing effort that will advertise the movie Spider-Man 2.
The first feature-length movie of America's favorite wall-crawling superhero, Spider-Man, was a big hit. Next month hitters at 15 Major League Baseball parks will be stepping on advertisements for the sequel, Spider-Man 2.
Logo ads for the upcoming movie, based on the action hero's web, will be placed atop bases and on-deck circles, as well as the pitching rubbers, at 15 major league ballparks during the weekend of June 11 to the 13. The movie sequel opens in the United States June 30.
Baseball officials say the promotion - a first for the Major Leagues - has been in the works for more than a year and is intended to reach out to younger fans. The ads, about 10 centimeters long, will not appear on home plates during games.
Jacqueline Parkes of Major League Baseball's marketing division says baseball and Spider Man are a good fit.
"Brand equities of Spider-Man and Major League Baseball marry up perfecting," she said. "We are evergreen properties with huge generational appeal. We are Americana. We are tradition and we have got good value."
Baseball will receive about $3.6 million in the deal and baseball officials do not think the Spider-Man movie advertisements will detract from the game. Major League Baseball President Bob Dupuy says any criticism is misplaced.
"It is an effort to provide, you know, some modest entertainment and modest excitement, and promotional giveaways, and does not detract from the play of the game at all," said Bob Dupuy.
Even the New York Yankees will put the movie ads on their bases in Yankee Stadium, but for just one game instead of three. When they opened the season in Tokyo, both the Yankees and Tampa Bay Devil Rays placed sponsor patches on their caps.
Former baseball commissioner Fay Vincent called putting the Spider-Man 2 advertisements on the bases "sad." He said you have to draw a line somewhere and that bases should be protected from marketing.
Chicago Cubs catcher Michael Barrett says the idea does not bother him as long as the movie is good.
"You know when I first heard that [about the ads going on the bases] I did not think it was real," he said. "I did not think it was true. It is okay, as long as the movie is good. You know, but if the movie is bad, it is going to look bad for baseball."
Fans will not be able to judge how good the Spider-Man 2 movie is until about two-weeks after they see the advertisements on the baseball fields.