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Saturday, December 7 Business

Stamford-based Octagon to help develop Minor League Baseball strategy

STAMFORD — Minor League Baseball, which could undergo a major restructuring, announced this week it had chosen sports marketing and media agency Octagon to develop its long-term content, media and distribution strategy.

The three-phase partnership includes conducting in-depth digital fan research and current digital platform analysis, developing a media content strategy and leading a targeted media rights distribution strategy. With the first two stages complete, MiLB and Octagon said they are now focused on identifying, securing and improving new media-distribution opportunities.

“We look forward to engaging with new media and technologies to push the envelope on distribution and consumption that connects the next generation of fans with the stars of tomorrow playing in Minor League Baseball,” Daniel Cohen, senior vice president of Octagon’s Global Media Rights Consulting Division, said in a statement.

The deal was announced the same week that Major League Baseball proposed a contraction plan that would end its affiliation with 42 minor league teams, including the Connecticut Tigers, a Norwich-based single-A team associated with the Detroit Tigers.

The proposal was floated as Major League Baseball and the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues negotiate a new Professional Baseball Agreement to replace one that expires after the 2020 season.

Octagon’s and MiLBs’s announcement did not mention the contraction scenario.

Annually, MiLB streams some 6,700 games and about 16,000 hours of live content.

This year, its 160 teams attracted nearly 42 million fans to their ballparks, as overall attendance grew about 3 percent from 2018.

In 2018, its teams produced record overall licensed merchandise sales of nearly $74 million.

“The media landscape is evolving quickly. Content rules the day and serves as the hook to current and next-generation fans,” David Wright, MiLB’s chief marketing and commercial officer, said in a statement. “We are committed to staying ahead of the content curve and investing in the necessary resources to best position MiLB to drive meaningful fan engagement and overall growth in a hyper-competitive space.”

Octagon operates with some 800 employees, across 50 offices in 22 countries. It is headquartered at 290 Harbor Drive in the city’s Shippan section.

In 2017, it relocated its main offices back to Stamford, after a 13-year stay in Norwalk.

Alongside its marketing work, Octagon represents a number of the world’s top athletes in sports including basketball, football, golf, hockey, soccer and a number of Olympic sports.

Its clients include NBA MVPs Stephen Curry and Giannis Antetokounmpo, WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne, 23-time gold medal-winning swimmer Michael Phelps, four-time Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast Simone Biles and three-time Olympic gold medal-winning snowboarder Shaun White.

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pschott@stamfordadvocate.com; 203-964-2236; twitter: @paulschott

Paul Schott|Staff reporter

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