San Diego Padres 1st MLB team to strike uniform advertising deal with Motorola

NEW YORK (AP) — There will be a new field at Major League Baseball grounds next season.

The San Diego Padres became the first team to announce an agreement for advertisements on their uniforms, saying Tuesday that patches with a Motorola logo will be worn on the sleeves of their jerseys.

The March 10 memorandum of understanding for a new collective bargaining agreement between MLB and the players’ association gave all 30 teams the right to sell advertising patches on uniforms and advertising stickers on helmets. The parties adopted on August 6, 2021 a proposal from MLB to amend a section of the Official Baseball Rules which states, “No part of the uniform shall include any patches or designs relating to commercial advertising.”

MLB’s proposal read: “Notwithstanding the foregoing or any other provision of these Rules, a Club may grant third party commercial sponsors the right to place their name, logos and/or marks on the uniform, at provided that the crest or design is approved in advance by the Commissariat after consultation with the players’ association.

MLB has decided to start uniform ads with the 2023 season and says it could start helmet ads with this year’s playoffs.

The Padres will have the ads on the right sleeves of left-handed batters and pitchers, and on the left sleeves of right-handed people – in order to face the cameras more often.

“The iconic Motorola logo on our jersey is a perfect alignment with our Padres brand,” Padres CEO Erik Greupner said in a statement Tuesday.

MLB and the union have agreed that player trade agreements in place at the start of the 2022 season cannot be challenged by the league or its teams.

Baseball has had ads in the past for special events. For the opening series in Tokyo, the New York Mets and Chicago Cubs wore 2000 sleeve patches for insurance company AIU and helmet decals for convenience store chain am/pm, according to uni The New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays had sleeve advertisements and helmet decals for Japanese electronics company Ricoh in 2004; the Oakland Athletics had Pepsi ads on their sleeves and the Boston Red Sox EMC in 2008, when Ricoh wore both teams’ helmets; the Seattle Mariners had Boeing on innings and Oakland Athletics had social app company Gloops in 2012, when Gloops was on both innings; and Oakland had MGM Resorts on the sleeves and Seattle had oil company Eneos in 2019, when there were no helmet announcements.

Eintracht Braunschweig, then in the Bundesliga, became the first German club to advertise in March 1973 under an agreement with Jägermeister.

Shirt advertisements in the British professional leagues began with Hibernian in Scotland in the 1977-78 season and Bukta, a sportswear company, and spread to English League grounds when Liverpool struck a deal with Hitachi before the 1979-80 season.

Juventus began advertising shirts in Serie A as part of a deal with Ariston in 1979, and Real Madrid started in the Spanish La Liga with Zanussi in 1982, according to

Major League Soccer became the first major North American league to allow jersey ads in 2007. Real Salt Lake was the first to announce a deal with dietary supplement juice company XanGo.

Among other North American leagues, the NBA began selling sponsorship logos for the 2017-18 season. The NHL launched helmet ads for the 2020-21 season and began advertising on jerseys this season.

— Ronald Blum, Associated Press Baseball writer

Neal T. Doss