MLB Announces Multi-Year Partnership with Hankook Tires

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MLB has introduced Hankook Tire as the Official Tire of Major League Baseball, in both the United States and Korea. The multi-year sponsorship agreement will provide Hankook with exposure across MLB’s media assets (i.e. MLB Network, MLB.com, social) and in-park at “jewel events” like the ASG. Virtual ads behind the plate during post-season broadcasts will also help the tire manufacturer achieve its goal of “reaching millions of baseball fans not only in the U.S. but around the world.” Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Hankook becomes the 6th (7th overall) publicly traded company (or subsidiary of a publicly traded equity) to partner with MLB since January.

Howie Long-Short: Hankook Tires, the 7th largest tire company in the world (based on sales), trades on the South Korea Stock Exchange under the symbol (KRX: 161390). The company reported FY17 sales increased +2.9% YoY (attributing the growth to sales of over 17-inch high tires), but the rising cost of raw materials drove operating profit down -28% YoY (to $701 million). In 2018, the company will look to position itself as a “premium brand”; with plans to expand sales of high-inch tires in major markets and to supply OE tires for new models of major high-end auto brands.

For reference purposes, the other 5 MLB partners to have signed on in 2018, that you can invest in are:

  • Kingsford, a subsidiary of The Chlorox Company (CLX)
  • Netspend, a subsidiary of Total System Services or TSYS (TSS)
  • Snapple, a subsidiary of the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group (DPS)
  • Supercuts, a subsidiary of Regis Corporation (RGS)
  • and Mitel Networks (MITL)

Fan Marino: All 30 teams in MLB were scheduled to play today, Opening Day (the earliest start date ever), for the first time since 1968; but, “impending inclement weather” in Cincinnati is going to prevent that from happening. The Reds/Nationals game (Bailey vs. Scherzer) scheduled for 4:10p, has been postponed until tomorrow (Friday 3.30). The rainout is particularly notable as Cincinnati hosted the “opener of Openers” every year (except 2, see below) between 1876-1989.

Fun Fact: Only 3x in Reds history has the team not opened at home. In 1877 and 1966 due to rain and in 1990 when a lockout forced the team to open in Houston.

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