retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Fox Business reports on a deal that, best I can tell, is fairly unprecedented - though it offers broader lessons about business today.

According to the story, “Major League Baseball is partnering with private equity firm Seidler Equity Partners to purchase Rawlings Sporting Goods Company for $395 million, the league’s longtime baseball and helmet supplier.”

Chris Marinak, MLB’s executive vice president for strategy, technology and innovation, says that “MLB is excited to take an ownership position in one of the most iconic brands in sports and further build on the Rawlings legacy, which dates back to 1887. We are particularly interested in providing even more input and direction on the production of the official ball of Major League Baseball, one of the most important on-field products to the play of our great game.”

I have no idea how this will play out. Rawlings makes a lot of the equipment used by professional players … will this mean that MLB will pressure them not to use equipment made by companies that now are competitors? And how will MLB position this deal when negotiating with these same companies for other sorts of deals?

But control is important. MLB clearly has decided to it makes sense to control/own the game experience to a greater degree, and so it making a considerable investment to do so.

That’s a good lesson for every business. Own the experience. Control the experience. Differentiated whenever and wherever possible.

It cannot just be words.

That’s the Eye-Opener.
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