Esurance has become Major League Baseball’s exclusive auto insurance partner in a multiyear agreement that includes title sponsorship of the sport’s new all-digital All- Star balloting.

Neither MLB nor Esurance, which was bought by Allstate Corp. in 2011 as part of a $1 billion deal, disclosed financial terms.

“Esurance is all about the modern world and focusing in on reaching people on a large scale,” Esurance Chief Marketing Officer Alan Gellman said. “Baseball has put a great deal of focus on modernizing the sport. The fact that they’re going all digital is what we are, who we are.”

Esurance also said it would partner with San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey, a three-time World Series champion who will become a brand ambassador.

Esurance will collaborate with MLB, its website and television network on a new, modern awards platform aimed at resonating with what Gellman said are the “tens of millions” of fans who are more likely to watch three minutes of highlights than an entire game.

“They are 100 percent a digital company,” said Noah Garden, MLB’s executive vice president of business. “It makes sense to put the two brands together.”

Bob Bowman, baseball’s president of business and media, in a March 9 memo said the league was shelving the punch card paper ballots previously used inside stadiums. The memo said online voting accounted for more than 80 percent of All-Star ballots cast last season, and that more than 16 million paper ballots went unused.

Advertising Spending

Allstate’s purchase of Esurance helped the largest publicly traded U.S. seller of auto and home insurance reach customers online. Allstate has ramped up advertising spending to win new customers, hiring Gellman last year from Wells Fargo & Co. to oversee marketing for the unit.

Esurance’s Super Bowl commercial last year, which featured actor John Krasinski, grabbed attention with more than 5 million people tweeting “#EsuranceSave30” to compete for a prize of $1.5 million, the sum the company saved by airing the ad following the football championship, rather than during the game. The winner was revealed on the show “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”

The business focuses on direct sales through the Internet, while Allstate’s namesake coverage is sold more frequently through agents. Esurance competes with Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s Geico unit and Progressive Corp.

MLB’s All-Star Game is scheduled for July 14 in Cincinnati.
–With assistance from Sonali Basak in New York.

Topics Mergers & Acquisitions Auto