Game of Thrones and Major League Baseball Are Teaming Up and I Have Some Questions

Image: HBO
Image: HBO

Game of Thrones is going to do a bunch of cross-promotion with Major League Baseball and the deal is very strange. Not, thankfully, as strange as the one it had with Sodastream. But, still weird.


I have some questions. We still don’t know exactly when Game of Thrones is returning, other that it will be “summer.” The promotions are also apparently beginning in “summer.” So:

  • Will they be during the show or before it?
  • If it’s during, who’s going to just decide to leap into Game of Thrones in the middle of season seven?
  • Baseball season starts before summer, too, who’s going to get energized to check out baseball that far into a season?
  • It’s not even late enough in the season for people to be really into it!

The promos haven’t been decided yet, and the participating teams will have different ones, but Deadline reports that ideas include “collectible and co-branded merchandise, ticket packages, giveaways, theme nights, and social media events.”

  • Is the merchandise for Game of Thrones going to be bobbleheads? Why not just buy a Funko if you want a Game of Thrones figure with a weird head?
  • What does a Game of Thrones ticket package even look like? Buy tickets for all five of your kids and your bastard gets in free?
  • Oh god, is there going to be a Red Wedding-themed baseball game? The team that has to be the Starks should just forfeit.
  • What is a social media event?

The reasoning for this is partly that MLB has had “longstanding partnership with HBO.” Is this just convenience for both of you?

Why do either of these things need to draw attention to themselves? Game of Thrones, for a show on pay cable, does ridiculous ratings. Baseball is baseball. The idea could be that they each have demographics that the other wants to penetrate, but, look, the fans of both are basically “most average people and some hardcore nerds.” Fantasy nerds for Game of Thrones and number nerds for baseball. I don’t see anyone who’s not already a fan of one suddenly wanting to be a fan of the other.

Also, MLB’s executive vice president of business Noah Garden says that the narrative that young people just don’t watch baseball is wrong anyway. From

“What people fail to look at when it comes to MLB is that we were the first to stream our games online and the first to launch an app — long before any other sport did,” Garden says. “Our millennials went to those platforms right away….The curse is that it gave the perception to some that we’ve become an older sport, which really couldn’t be farther from the truth.”

The cross promotion with GoT “starts to tell a different story.”

What different story? It’s not going to make you suddenly appear younger. You gonna add dragons and nudity to baseball? How about a beheading? Also, if both baseball and Game of Thrones get a lot of viewers from the Internet, how is this promotion going to make those people get off their asses and pay a ton of money to go to a baseball game? A lot of those “millennials” are using other people’s logins in the first place so they don’t have to pay for anything!


The teams participating so far include the Arizona Diamondbacks, Boston Red Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Sox, Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers, Kansas City Royals, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, Oakland Athletics, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Seattle Mariners, San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, Texas Rangers, Tampa Bay Rays, and Washington Nationals. So feel free to assign them houses if it suits you.

Katharine is the Associate Director of Policy and Activism at the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the former managing editor of io9. She writes about technology policy and pop culture.



just got my promo email