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2023 State of MLB: Pitch Clocks and Game Speeds

Best Practices & Insights   |   Sep 28, 2023   |  by Brett Pistotnik

As fans and teams turn their focus toward baseball’s postseason, brands and broadcasters are still adjusting to the new rules implemented by the MLB.

While the introduction of jersey patches has garnered strong performance, it’s the introduction of LED signage and a pitch clock that has brands and broadcasters working to find their footing.

To help brands cut through the noise in this rapidly changing digital environment, here are some of the key ways that the introduction of the pitch clock has begun to affect brand advertising assets in both some surprising and not-so-surprising ways.

2023 State of MLB by Relo Metrics: Pitch Clock Analysis

Implications of the MLB Pitch Clock

The introduction of the pitch clock has achieved the MLB’s primary goal of reducing game durations. Across the league, game durations have decreased by an average of 16 percent. 

While the overall game duration has been impacted, the reduction in duration for key advertising assets—such as the pitcher’s mound and home plate static views—has all stayed static at 13 percent, based on Relo Metrics’ research. So despite the faster pace of the game, certain critical advertising assets have not experienced a proportional decrease in exposure.

Similarly, pitch counts have remained relatively stable year-over-year. Despite predictions that this trend would result in a corresponding decline in total time of exposures for the three key assets, the actual outcomes have shown only a 3 percent drop.

Relo Metrics’s analysis suggests that broadcasters are adapting by utilizing fewer cutaways between pitches, keeping viewers' attention on the action at the plate, and maintaining exposure for brands featured on assets behind home plate.

Changes in Camera Angles and Asset Exposure Due to the Pitch Clock

With less time for cutaways and other shots between pitches, advertisers in certain key areas have seen an increase in exposure thanks to more frequent camera angles, based on Relo’s data. In particular, the home plate rotational, home plate static, and pitchers mound angles have together managed to generate 66 percent of total broadcast exposures in 2023, a 7 percent increase from 2022.

Relo Metrics - Broadcast Exposure by Placement Type, MLB



Additionally, the home plate static asset angle has emerged as the premium choice for nationally televised games. In 2022, Relo data found that team-controlled home plate assets contributed to 26 percent of sponsor media value (SMV) during nationally televised broadcasts. In 2023, this percentage has risen to 35 percent, highlighting the asset's increasing prominence in high-profile broadcasts.

On the other hand, the implementation of the MLB pitch clock has also led to a notable drop in outfield asset duration. Previously, outfield assets received a significant portion of their exposure from the behind-the-batter camera angle, which was often utilized during the time between pitches. As a result, the duration of outfield asset exposures has seen a decline of up to 34 percent for nationally televised games.

The Rise of Dugout Rails as a Valuable Asset

With the dramatic shifts in the performance of the outfield, pitcher’s mound, and home plate assets, brands have begun to turn more of their attention toward dugout rails. These rails, positioned behind batters, offer a consistent placement that captures the viewer's attention during crucial moments in the game. This has led to them becoming the most valuable in generating SMV. In fact, Relo data has found that dugout Rails now contribute to 44 percent of the total dugout broadcast SMV.

To help optimize the performance of their dugout rail signage, brands should ensure:

  • The text on the signage is large enough to be read from a distance.
  • Text is concise to avoid being cut off from various camera angles.
  • Designs feature bold contrast to help ensure visibility during both daytime and nighttime broadcasts.

Get Your Hands on the Key Asset Data You Need

The 2023 season has introduced a number of key changes that teams, players, fans, broadcasters, and brands are still adjusting to.

This makes it more critical than ever for brands to have access to real-time exposure and duration data and impact metrics that Relo Metrics is able to seamlessly provide to its partners. Using this data, brands are able to quickly adjust and refine their advertising campaigns and maximize the return on investment of their marketing efforts.

Want to get access to Relo’s comprehensive, in-depth analysis of the impact of the MLB’s recent changes so your team can gain a competitive edge in this tighter advertising market? Then make sure to get your own copy of our complete resource, here:

Download the 2023 State of MLB Sponsorship Report

 

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