Nike becomes presenting sponsor of RBI Program
Major League Baseball and Nike, Inc. (Nike) on Friday announced Nike as the presenting sponsor of the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) Program, MLB’s youth initiative to provide baseball and softball playing opportunities for young people in underserved communities. This formal dynamic is aligned with the existing global partnership of Nike as the Official Uniform and Performance Footwear Supplier of MLB.
The program, which will be formally referred to as Nike RBI, will help create the future of diamond sports. The sponsorship encompasses all existing RBI properties including the Nike RBI Regionals (née “RBI Regionals) and the Nike RBI World Series (née “RBI World Series”).
“Nike’s support of our RBI program is a literal game-changing opportunity for young athletes all over the world,” said Tony Reagins, Chief Baseball Development Officer, Major League Baseball. “Nike’s influence in sport brings the program to another level in the eyes of our leagues, players, and families. We look forward to partnering to provide more access to baseball and softball while amplifying the voices of student-athletes to grow our sport.”
MLB and Nike will collaborate on a new content series, “Nike RBI Spotlight,” which will regularly highlight RBI leagues on various broadcast, digital and social platforms, including MLB Network, MLB.com and MLB’s social media channels. Nike RBI Spotlight will demonstrate the diversity of RBI leagues across the world, which include programs run and/or supported by MLB Clubs, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, local municipal organizations, and independently-operated groups.
MLB and Nike will identify Nike Athletes who will serve as Nike RBI Ambassadors to support the awareness and promotion of the program. Additionally, the Nike RBI Regionals in July will be amplified across MLB and Nike platforms in the build-up to the Nike RBI World Series at the Jackie Robinson Training Complex in Vero Beach, FL, held from July 31 through August 12.
The Nike RBI program has served approximately 2 million young people since its inception with many RBI alumni having played in MLB, including Jackie Bradley, Jr. (Kansas City Royals), Hunter Greene (Cincinnati Reds), Alek Thomas (Arizona Diamondbacks), and Dominic Smith (Washington Nationals). The program is administered by Major League Baseball and designed to give young people from underserved and diverse communities the opportunity to play baseball and softball, while also encouraging academic achievement and success and teaching the value of teamwork and other important life lessons. Nike RBI currently serves youth in over 200 programs in approximately 200 cities worldwide. MLB and its Clubs have designated more than $40 million worth of resources to the Nike RBI program, and all 30 Clubs support Nike RBI leagues.