Baseball is an iconic sport where sounds and smells can resonate directly from an image, and send you back in time to a particular moment. Since 2002, Getty Images has been capturing those moments in partnership with the Major League Baseball Players Association.
In 2011, Getty Images and the MLBPA embarked on The Players Choice Collection, a unique collection of Major League Baseball player images available for editorial use, as well as to all MLBPA licensees, businesses working with individual players – and even the players themselves as they rapidly become more involved with the development of their own personal brands.
Player support for the project was overwhelming, and so was their level of comfort during the shoots. The players let their guard down, which allowed the photographers to capture the players’ unique personalities. And by photographing each player against multiple backdrops (black, white and team color) in three different looks (street clothes, performance apparel and uniform), the Collection arguably has the most creative and varied image portfolio in the sports and entertainment industry. But don’t take our word for it. See for yourself, by checking out players such as Ichiro Suzuki and Nick Swisher.
“We’ve been delighted with the results of this partnership,” said Tim Slavin, Director of Business Affairs at the MLBPA. “It’s a one-stop shop for interested parties looking to find variety in available player images, the quality of the photos is outstanding, and the players themselves have embraced the opportunity to showcase their personalities. It’s what we hoped to achieve when the idea was first presented.”
Senior Manager of Sports Business Development at Getty Images Michael Klein agrees.
“Having been involved with The Players Choice Collection from its inception, which included numerous brainstorming sessions with the MLBPA, I can tell you that both parties were excited about the potential of this ambitious project,” Klein said.“The players provide the strongest connection between the sport and its fans, and our goal is to provide partners with an array of unique and unprecedented images. We knew that creating and executing this project was no small task, but we also knew it wouldn’t take long for all involved to enjoy the fruits of our labor.”
A quick scan through The Players Choice Collection shows that these aren’t standard publicity photos. To date, more than 800 players have been shot, creating 525,000 unique images, of which 113,000 are available now on GettyImages.com.
The Players Choice Collection is already reaping rewards for everyone involved. Most recently, renowned ad agency Publicis reached out to Getty Images on behalf of Citi, which wanted to feature Red Sox slugger David Ortiz in an ad campaign.
“We have been working with Getty Images for several years now, and their approach, access and quality of content provide the final products our clients need to execute successful campaigns,” said Veronica Williams, Senior Art Producer at Publicis.
When you think about all of the great ballplayers in the Modern Era, very few match David Ortiz’s ability to turn a late-inning, 95-plus mph fastball, into a souvenir. Citi was looking to find a way to showcase this current iconic and seven-time All-Star in a forthcoming ad campaign.
Prior to the creation of The Players Choice Collection, Citi would have had very few image options available to them. But thanks to Getty and the MLBPA, Citi now had access to dozens of images of David to choose from. Perhaps best of all, though, Citi avoided any slow-down to their production schedule — they didn’t have to balance schedules, shoot locations and photographer availability to arrange for a photo shoot. A quick visit to The Players Choice Collection saved them time and money.
The result is this upcoming print advertisement that Citi is running with several other iconic athletes and celebrities.
“The MLBPA photo shoot with Getty was very easy and we had a fun time. Now, I have a complete library of great photography…and to have one of my photos be used in a national ad campaign representing Citi? That’s very cool!”
– David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox
We look forward to providing more opportunities like this for the MLBPA, individual players, brands and agencies that rely upon Getty Images for exclusive professional media content.