ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Minor League Baseball™ announced today that it has hired Michael Hand as its chief marketing officer, whose primary responsibility will be to lead and oversee its Project Brand initiative. As the first CMO in the organization's 112-year history, Hand will be responsible for securing substantial, strategic partners; marketing and creative services; strategic brand and message positioning; and developing and implementing marketing programs.
Minor League Baseball president & CEO, Pat O'Conner, introduced Project Brand, a new national marketing effort designed to promote the industry, enhance franchise values and create significant national sponsorship revenues by leveraging the combined branding power of all 160 MiLB™ clubs, at the Baseball Winter Meetings™ in December 2012.
"We feel that Michael is the most dynamic and qualified person to lead Project Brand and help our clubs and industry reach their maximum potentials in terms of branding and sponsorships," said O'Conner. "His vast business experiences working for some of America's biggest and most powerful brands for more than 15 years are tremendous assets that he brings to the position. Michael can utilize these skills to tell Minor League Baseball's story, as he establishes business relationships with companies who recognize the attractive demographic market that exists through the more than 41 million fans that our clubs attract annually."
"Minor League Baseball has clubs in 43 of the 50 states, with great fans that represent a cross section of our country," said Hand. "I look forward to building the profile of our $700 million industry in the corporate community and beginning partnerships with companies who recognize the appealing nature of our industry and fans."
Michael joins MiLB after spending four years at IMG Worldwide in New York City, where he most recently served as senior vice president of marketing & strategy for the IMG College division. He directed development of new business proposals for national, regional and local clients across more than 70 collegiate properties through customized brand activation platforms.
Hand also had oversight of corporate staff that provided proprietary and syndicated research insights, serviced national clients for in-market execution and built activation concepts that leveraged media inventory, intellectual property and unique access to athletic venues and coaches. These efforts led to ground breaking sponsorship deals that had never before been associated with the collegiate landscape.
Michael has been recognized by the In-Store Marketing Institute as a "Person to Watch" for his role in retail brand-building, and his teams have won multiple Reggie, Clio and PRO Awards for successful marketing campaigns. Hand worked for BMW of North America, General Motors, the Miller Brewing Company and The Hershey Company, prior to joining IMG.