Stance Signs Deal with MLB to be Official Sock Provider

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From: ESPN

Major League Baseball has signed a deal with Stance that will make the company the official sock provider for the league.

The multiyear deal, whose financial terms are not being disclosed, will start in earnest with the 2017 season, but some signs of the partnership will appear as soon as this year's All-Star Game, when Stance will offer a Home Run Derby sock and a sock for both the National and American League rosters.

It's the first time the league has sold the sponsorship category.

"We wanted to give teams the chance to express themselves creatively in a nontraditional way," said Noah Garden, executive vice president of business for the league. "Socks are an often-overlooked but very important part of our game, and when Stance came along, it seemed like a logical extension for us."

Stance didn't just come with a check: The company also spent time engineering a new performance sock for the game, one that wicks moisture, offers breathable mesh and is cushioned around the ankle where the cleat most digs into the foot.

"We had guys put on the socks we built and they couldn't believe it," said Clarke Miyasaki, Stance's executive vice president of business development. Until now, "they were wearing the same long socks that we wearing as kids in Little League."

Stance has shipped 37 million pairs of socks since the company was founded 5 1/2 years ago. This past season was its first as the official sock of the NBA.

Miyasaki said he anticipates that the biggest business will come from the younger audience who will appreciate the new performance sock as well as the casual line with team logos.

MLB teams themselves were previously responsible for ordering socks for the players and often used different companies. The new deal will mean each of the teams will work with Stance to design a coordinated team look, though players will still be able to wear what they want, however they to wear them, as long as those socks are unbranded.

Miyasaki said about 10 percent of MLB players don't cover up their socks, but the hope is that with the fresher sock, more players will roll their pants up to expose the new Stance logo.

Tags: branding brand architecture brand development Stance apparel MLB Major League Basebal ESPN