One of the more innovative alliances associated with the 2013 MLB World Series was the partnership between Pearl Jam and Fox Sports.
The late October climax of the baseball season was used by Pearl Jam as a promotion for the launch of its latest album ‘Lightning Bolt’.
The legendary US rock band signed a deal with baseball broadcaster Fox that saw the TV channel place no less than 48 Pearl Jam tracks within the channel’s World Series programming.
All 12 tracks from the record, which was released on 15 October, featured heavily on the broadcaster’s baseball coverage
Indeed, the band’s music catalogue was the dominant soundtrack to both Fox’s promotional trailers, opening teasers, live coverage, commercial bumpers and montages for the Fall Classic.
To further support the tie-in, Pearl Jam was also featured as November’s Artist of the Month on Fox Sports properties.
The original, album-launch led broadcaster licensing deal is also unusual considering its volume: it licensed 48 songs, the largest amount of songs from any broadcaster participating artist in recent years.
Classic tracks such as ‘Animal’, ‘Better Man’, ‘Daughter’ and ‘Even Flow’ all featured in the broadcaster coverage.
‘Pearl Jam asked us which tracks we’d like, so we gave them a wish list and they said yes to all of them,’ explains Fox Sports Music VP Janine Kerr.
While Pearl Jam’s band manager Kelly Curtis said the World Series was an easy choice for the group.
‘For the past many years, we consider licensing requests using the same criteria we do for everything else: Do we like it? Would the fans like it? Does it provide a different forum for fans to hear the music? Is it something we can get behind?, Curtis outlined. ‘The band loves baseball, so this one was a no-brainer.’
In the past Pearl Jam have been reported to be reluctant to enter licensing deals, but baseball does seem to be a good fit for them – not least because the members of the band are genuine fans of the game.
Indeed, the band, who have sold 60 million records to date and are known as one of the most influential US bands in the 1990s, is led by frontman Eddie Vedder – well known as a lifelong fan of the MLB’s Chicago Cubs
Vedder grew up in the north Chicago suburb of Evanston (illionois) and he has not only thrown out ceremonial first pitches at Wrigley Field, but has been the seventh-inning stretch guest singer several times and even penned a Cubs tribute song called ‘All the way’:
Indeed, during one Pearl Jam Wrigley Field concert, Vedder brought Cubs’ legend Ernie Banks out on stage. After the crowd had given Banks a standing ovation, he and Vedder duetted in a heartfelt performance of ‘All the Way’.
Furthermore, when the band actually played a gig at Chicago’s legendary Wrigley Field recently, fans could buy baseball-inspired trading cards featuring each member of the band.
The Seattle band’s baseball connections certainly seem to run deep.
At a recent Pittsburgh concert this Autumn, home team closing pitcher Jason Grilli joined them on stage prior to the Pirates play-off games.
Yet another sign not only of the trend for blending entertainment genres (in this case baseball and music), but this move marks another innovative approach to promoting music as the industry continues to seek alternative business models in the new media landscape.
It certainly helps the alliance if the artists are genuine fans of the property.
Fox Sports Website
Pearl Jam Website
MLB Fan Cave