NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Hankook Tire America Corp. has signed a multi-year sponsorship deal with Major League Baseball that names Hankook the official tire of the MLB in the U.S. and South Korea.
The deal replaces a similar arrangement that Sumitomo Rubber North America signed with MLB in 2015 that made the Falken brand MLB's official tire in the U.S. for "multiple" years starting in 2016.
Hankook said it expects the deal will allow it to showcase the Hankook brand across MLB's media assets, including MLB Network, digital platforms such as MLB.com and social media, and MLB ballparks during "jewel" events such as the All-Star Game and the postseason.
Financial terms were not disclosed. Hankook also did not disclose the length of the agreement.
Hankook is developing MLB-themed creative content to run in its multimedia advertising, along with a retail marketing campaign that would extend its MLB footprint beyond the ballparks and media.
Through the partnership, Hankook said it will use MLB marks in marketing activities, giveaways, consumer promotion and events. The company also will engage U.S. consumers through virtual advertisements behind home plate in national broadcasts during postseason games, including the League Championship Series and World Series.
"Hankook Tire brings a real passion for baseball and a comprehensive vision to their marketing around our league, teams, and players in the U.S. and beyond," said Noah Garden, MLB executive vice president, commerce.
"As MLB continues to grow our international activities and events, Hankook Tire demonstrates a new model for MLB partners to be able to achieve their goals of reaching millions of baseball fans not only in the U.S. but around the world."
Hankook Tire is the seventh new MLB sponsor signed since January; other brands are Barbasol, Kingsford, Mitel, Netspend, Snapple and Supercuts.
"As Hankook Tire rapidly grows its presence in the American market, we are honored to connect with America's favorite tradition—the dynamic game of baseball," Hankook Tire America President Hosung Suh said.
Unaudited figures for the 2017 regular season showed attendance at the 30 MLB ball parks was 72.7 million, down roughly 1 percent in a season plagued by hurricanes and other weather events.
TV viewership data were not available.
Hankook cut its teeth in baseball promotion over the past few seasons, signing sponsorship deals with a number of MLB teams. Those deals garnered 5.1 million media impressions in 2016 alone, the company said earlier, valued at $100 million in media value.
Hankook also has run a baseball-themed "Great Catch" promotion the past eight years, offering rebates on a variety of qualifying tires from an authorized Hankook dealer in the month leading up to Opening Day.