With baseball’s All-Star Game in the history books, here’s a few words about… baseball sponsors. These days, just about anyone can sponsor a baseball broadcast, even personal injury attorneys. In 1961, team broadcast rights went from $300,000 to sponsor the lowly Washington Senators to $1M to sponsor the Dodgers. Who paid the bills? Breweries and tobacco companies were more prominent, with oil companies also footing the bills. Since we said the Senators paid $300K, here’s who sponsored:
P. Ballantine, a brewing company and RJ Reynolds, makers of Winston and Salem cigarettes. Originating stations were WTOP TV and radio.
What exactly did a million pay for to pipe Vin Scully into car radios and transistors? Read on:
Union Oil and American Tobacco Co, makers of Lucky Strike and Pall Mall cigarettes. KFI did the radio, with KTTV bringing the Dodgers into living rooms on a limited basis in SoCal starting that season, only games in San Francisco.
Speaking of the Giants, their broadcast rights were $750,000, with limited TV starting that season featuring the Dodgers. How much did 750K pay for? Beer(Falstaff), smokes(American Tobacco) and… Coffee(Folger’s, which also sponsored the infant LA Angels on radio).
And… how can we leave out the Yankees? $900,000 went towards Ballantine Beer and Lucky Strikes.
Enter 1961 baseball sponsors in your search engine and you should be lead to an SBNATION article with a sponsor chart from a 1961 magazine which told exactly what sponsored what team, how much and the sponsors that helped foot the bill. Which begs the question, was Mrs. Olson a groupie at Candlestick Park? Mountain-Grown coffee says the answer is probably yes.