EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been changed from the print version to correct the spelling of Bruce Bruk’ name.
Hello Kitty at Dodger Stadium? Yes, and it looks like a home run.
Sanrio Co. Ltd.’s popular line of Hello Kitty products have been selling in stores at Chavez Ravine and the four other California big-league baseball venues since July with the help of a local licensing company with connections to both Tokyo-based Sanrio and Major League Baseball.
The licensing firm, Your Event Inc. of Hermosa Beach, worked out the agreement between Sanrio’s U.S. headquarters in Torrance and the baseball league.
“Our mission is to find licensing and marketing opportunities in major league baseball and other sports leagues,” said Bruce Bruk, Your Event’s top local executive.
But why bring Hello Kitty to baseball? Because nearly half of all fans passing through ballpark turnstiles are women and girls, the target market for Hello Kitty handbags, plush dolls and other products. And baseball has been looking for more merchandise to sell them.
“Hello Kitty seemed like the perfect opportunity,” said Greg Sim, senior licensing director with MLB.
Early sales reports from the California teams have been so promising that Your Event this month negotiated an expansion of the agreement to cover all major league teams next season. Brook and Sanrio marketing executive Dave Marchi believe most teams will sign on.
“If there is any skepticism among other teams, I would tell them to talk to the Dodgers and see how well Hello Kitty is selling here,” Marchi said.
And Hello Kitty isn’t stopping at baseball. This week, a jumbo EVA Air Boeing 777-300 jet with the cute cat emblazoned on its fuselage, seats and pillows will make its first appearance at Los Angeles International Airport.