Major League Baseball's World Series Aiming To Have Music 'Mini-Festival'

The following is excerpted from Billboard magazine's special Sports & Music Package which examines how music can play a larger role in the nearly $14 billion brands will this year spend on sports. This special section includes "The Big Scores," a story on music's role in this summer's World Cup; NBC's plan to use music extensively in its Winter Olympic Games coverage; and a special Billboard Sports & Music Roundtable with CAA's Tom Worcester, Columbia Records Agency's Brian Nolan, ESPN's Kevin Wilson, NFL's Sarah Moll, Coca-Cola's Joe Belliotti and GMR Marketing's Casey Gartland. You can pick-up this issue here. Subscribe to Billboard here.

 
Sports & Music Roundtable: How The Music Biz Can Get A Bigger Slice of Sports' $14 Billion Brand Spend

It may not be too long before Major League Baseball achieves the same level of multi-day music programming as the NFL's Super Bowl.  Tim Brosnan, the MLB’s exec VP of business, hopes to make some of those bookings a bit easier.

In July, the MLB topped off its All-Star Week with special performances from acts like Mariah Carey, Marc Anthony and Pitbull, and in September, MLB Advanced Media acquired the digital distribution rights to the Global Citizen Festival, a one-day concert from New York’s Central Park. Brosnan hopes to soon execute something similar for the World Series, which has historically been much harder to plan around, given that the playoffs are scheduled at the last minute to accommodate the winning teams' home fields.

 

“What we’d like to do is get to the day where everybody accepts music performances as a warm-up the World Series,” Brosnan says. “The World Series is about the game first, second third and fourth, but it’s also a popular iconic, cultural venue and I think you’ll see a day where every World Series game is a mini-festival unto itself. We’re not there yet, but we’ll get there one day.”

In the meantime, the MLB Fan Cave can help the league fill that void. Brosnan was speaking from the venue, located in the site of a former Tower Records store in New York’s East Village, just moments before Avicii played a private post-season concert to 150 fans. The intimate space was founded in 2011 and is booked by Ken Krasner, a music industry veteran of Front Line Management, RCA/BMG and AEG, who joined MLB in 2004, and plays a key role in helping the league attract a more millennial crowd.

“We know we have our avid fans there, who are glued to our presentations,” Brosnan says. “But we win when we get casuals.. If you think about what baseball asks fans to do in the month of October, which is tune into any of the 41 games in 30 nights, that’s a demand equation on our fans. But what the Cave does is it lets us market to the casual audience — it’s often 20 years younger on average than our television audience.”

Still, look for plenty of music from Pearl Jam to be embedded in this month's coverage on Fox Sports. All 12 tracks from the band's just-released album "Lightning Bolt" will be featured in Fox's music beds, as will 36 other well-known songs from the Pearl Jam catalog ().

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