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Sharp Signs Baseball Pact as Long-term HD Sponsor

Sharp Electronics has begun a 36-month advertising deal with Major League Baseball for the primary purpose of promoting its line of Aquos HD products as the league's "official high-definition television sponsor." The long-term agreement mandates, among other things, that Sharp commit millions of ad dollars to those networks which own various MLB carriage rights--Fox, DirecTV, ESPN and TBS.

The 2007 season begins next week. Last season, a substantial minority of all regular games (about 1,300) were aired in HD on a local basis, with at least as many contests expected to be featured in mostly 720p this year. Also, the league expects more than a hundred games to air nationally this season in HD (primarily from ESPN and Fox), according to Mediaweek.

Sharp already has sponsorship deals with eight individual MLB teams, but this is the first time it has signed on with pro baseball (or any other sport) at the national level.