The Mets have not been to the World Series in seven years, but they have a spot in this year’s Super Bowl. Some of the team’s stars were brought in for a 30-second commercial that will air twice during Sunday’s broadcast, which is usually the most watched television event of the year in the United States.
The game also signals the end of the football season, so what better time to remind baseball fans, and the rest of the game’s huge audience, that their season is quickly approaching. On Monday, pitchers and catchers can report for spring training.
“The impetus was that the Super Bowl marks the end of the football season, but really kicks off the baseball season,” said Andy Goldberg, the chief marketing officer for the Mets. “It’s the one moment of the year where all eyes are on you and you’re going to have a lot of attention.”
Steven A. Cohen bought the Mets with a promise to use his formidable finances to push the club to the forefront of the baseball landscape, which he has accomplished in a busy off-season in which the team has committed to a payroll and luxury taxes that will likely approach $500 million for the 2023 season. Now Cohen’s finances will be used to elbow his team in front of the country’s biggest broadcast audience.
The commercial features a handful of players, including Francisco Lindor, Brandon Nimmo and Edwin Díaz, with Kodai Senga, a free-agent starting pitcher acquired this off-season, patched in by video from Japan. And it would not be a true Mets production without an appearance by Mr. Met, the team’s affable mascot.
The spot will be shown only in the New York region, at a fraction of the cost of the ads that are broadcast nationally on Fox Sports, which is televising the Super Bowl. Those national ads will cost as much as $7 million for a 30-second spot this year.
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- The God of Sod: George Toma, 94, has been a groundskeeper for all 57 Super Bowls. On Sunday, his perfectionism will be on display for millions of people who will have no idea who he is or how he suffers for his work.
- Philadelphia Swagger: After surviving a disastrous introductory news conference, an ill-chosen flower analogy and his “Beat Dallas” motivational shirt, Nick Sirianni has transformed the Eagles, and maybe himself.
- Inside a Kansas City Oasis: Big Charlie’s Saloon is a South Philadelphia bar with a bit of a conundrum: how to celebrate Kansas City’s Super Bowl berth without drawing the ire of locals.
- Halftime Show: The nearly four-year gap between Rihanna’s live performances will close when she takes the stage at the Super Bowl. During her hiatus, the stakes for her return have only grown.
“We are nowhere near that,” Goldberg said, though he would not divulge the cost.
Regardless, running an ad during the Super Bowl is bold incursion by a baseball club that for years has trailed the crosstown Yankees in both wins, spending and visibility.
“We want to build the brand out broader than the core audience of the Mets, and start to grow our fan base even more,” Goldberg said.
Goldberg was hired by the Mets a year ago as part of the team’s broader revitalization and outreach efforts under Cohen. Before the Mets, Goldberg worked for American Express and General Electric, where he helped produce a Super Bowl ad.
He said his department was kicking around ideas for the Mets in late December when someone suggested a Super Bowl ad. From his previous experience, Goldberg knew it was very late in the year to buy time slots during the game, since many companies often start the process of producing such a commercial — often among their most important ad buys of the year — nine months in advance. But he checked with Fox and, to his surprise, was told a few slots were still available.
In early January, Goldberg took the idea to Cohen, who signed off immediately.
“He said, ‘Let’s go for it, it could have a big impact,’” Goldberg said.
The ad was shot mostly in Port St. Lucie, Fla., on Jan. 30 with Nimmo, Lindor, Tomás Nido, Luis Guillermo and Mr. Met. Díaz was in New York after receiving the Good Guy award from the New York chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America at their annual dinner, so his bit was filmed there. Senga videotaped his cameo in Fukuoka, Japan.
The players are shown answering phones and selling tickets, with Díaz, the Mets closer, taking particular joy in closing his deal. Goldberg, who was at the taping in Port St. Lucie, said that while all the players worked to perfect their bits, Nimmo showed particular interest in how the whole process came together.
And of course, Mr. Met attacked the role with one of his typically deep and penetrating performances.
The Mets said their commercial will air as the broadcast transitions from the pregame show to the actual game coverage — around 6 p.m. Eastern — and again at the end of the first quarter.