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Legg Mason ends sponsorships with Orioles and Ravens

Legg Mason ends sponsorships with Orioles and Ravens
Legg Mason is ending its sponsorships of the Baltimore Orioles and Ravens, giving up its prominent spot on the scoreboard at Oriole Park at Camden Yards and in M&T Bank Stadium. (Handout courtesy of Legg Mason)

Legg Mason has pulled out of its sports sponsorships with the Baltimore Orioles and the Baltimore Ravens, removing prominent signage this year from the city’s ballpark and stadium and ending leases for skyboxes at both venues.

The Baltimore-based money management firm, in the midst of a restructuring, has shifted marketing spending away from sports sponsorships, which also had included a skybox at Madison Square Garden in New York, a Legg Mason spokeswoman said Monday.

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The Legg Mason sign has held a prominent spot on the center field scoreboard at Oriole Park at Camden Yards almost continuously since 1992 — except for a five year absence from 2009 through 2013, the company said.

“What we’re finding is that it’s hard to fill those seats,” said Mary K. Athridge, a Legg Mason spokeswoman. “Our clients just aren’t looking for that kind of entertainment any more… The client demand for those outings just isn’t there.”

Instead, she said, “they’re looking to do business with people who can bring something practical to their business.” For example, the firm offers a seminar called “Anatomy of a Recession” that advisers can attend and then take information back to their clients, Athridge said.

A spokesman for the Orioles did not respond Monday to a request for comment regarding scoreboard sponsorships for the current season.

Athridge said the Legg Mason signs are expected to be down by the ballclub’s home opener on Thursday.

Besides the main scoreboard sign at Camden Yards, Legg Mason also had a vertical sign on the side of the scoreboard. At M&T Bank Stadium, the company displayed its name on signage and rented a skybox through last season.

“We understand that Legg Mason is undergoing some changes, and we appreciate the past support,” said Kevin Byrne, a spokesman for the Ravens.

He said the team will have some new sponsors for the 2019 season and the renewal process is progressing.

Athridge said the firm is focusing its marketing efforts on programs and events that directly support clients’ business, such as campaigns about special investment ideas.

“If you’re looking at return on investment on your marketing dollars, you want to make sure you’re getting the most out of them,” she said. “If it’s not something clients value, you look to spend on something new.”

In February, Legg Mason said it plans to develop a new global operating platform designed to enhance collaboration and improve efficiency of the firm’s multi-affiliate model. The restructuring is expected to cost $130 million to $150 million to implement and result in annual savings of $90 million to $110 million.

Despite its headquarters being in Baltimore, in a tower of money-colored glass on the Harbor East waterfront, the firm has been shrinking locally for years. While it has said it remains committed to the city, its employment in the region has dwindled. The company is structured as a shared services parent firm for a series of investment affiliates, most of them located elsewhere.

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