In 1920, the National Commission was fractured. It had been created to manage relationships between two powerful sports leagues, but it wasn’t fit for purpose. In its stead, the Commissioner of Baseball took over. From 1901 to 1960, the AL and NL had eight teams each. In the ’60s, eight additional teams were added by Major League Baseball (MLB). Including the first non-USA team (the Montreal Expos). Two additional teams (the Seattle Mariners and the Toronto Blue Jays) came along in the ’70s. Until 1993, each league would consist of a West and East Division. In 1993, the national league added two more teams, the Colorado Rockies and Florida Marlins, to create an equal number of teams in both leagues. The Central Division was formed in 1994, and until 1996 the two leagues would only meet on the field during a World Series and All-Star game. Regular interleague games were introduced from 1997-to 1998.
The Major League Baseball is now one of the oldest sports leagues in North America alongside the NBA and NFL, which may be why it’s known as ”America’s Pastime”. There are 30 teams in the league, split between the American League and the National League. The two were formed in 1901 and 1876, respectively, but the Commissioner didn’t merge them as a joint entity until 2000.
The MLB also oversees the Minor League, an offshoot of 256 smaller teams affiliated with the 30 Major League teams.
Baseball’s popularity began to rise, having survived the Great Depression and World Wars. The first professional baseball team to be founded was the Cincinnati Red Stockings, founded in 1869. Each team in the MLB plays 162 games each season; one-third of the teams play in a post-season tournament consisting of four rounds. The winner of this tournament wins the world series. MLB is headquartered in New York.
Famous MLB Trademarks
Major League Baseball Properties, Inc has a wealth of intellectual property, including mascots, sports teams, marketing materials, and more. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular MLB trademarks.
MLB.com is the official website of MLB and is overseen by Major League Baseball Advanced Media, which is an offshoot of MLB. MLB.com provides baseball-related information, including sports, statistics, and news columns. The trademark registration took place in 2005 and applies to the following categories:
- Entertainment services
- Telecommunications services
- Toys and sporting goods
- Paper goods and printed matter
- Electrical and scientific apparatus
- Promoting goods and services via the internet
M Expos Logo
The M Expos logo was used for advertising the Montreal Expos, a Quebec-based Major League baseball team. The logo consists of an M in bubble font above the word Expos. The trademark filing was submitted in 1974 and applied to the following categories:
- Baseball gloves
- Cigarette lighters
- Cloth and iron-on badges
- Tote bags
- Clocks, jewelry, and accessories
- Key tags and keychains
- Drinking cups
- Entertainment services
Bay Bridge Series
The Bay Bridge Series – also known as the Battle of the Bay, is a baseball game series that features the Major League Baseball’s Oakland Athletics of the American League and San Francisco Giants of the National League. The series is named for the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge, which links the cities of Oakland and San Francisco. As of 2018, the winner of the annual series retains a trophy fashioned from a piece of the original bridge. The trademark filing took place in 1996 and applies to the following categories:
- Entertainment in the nature of baseball games and exhibitions; television and radio programs featuring baseball games and exhibitions
This Week in Baseball
This Week in Baseball (TWIB) is a TV series focusing on Major League Baseball highlights; it was broadcast weekly during baseball season and featured interviews with players, highlights of recent games, and other features. The show was best known for being hosted by the New York Yankees commentator Mel Allen. While TWIB was discontinued in 2011, the trademark remains registered with ”This week in baseball” being trademarked since 2003. The trademark applies to the following categories:
- Electrical and scientific apparatus, including video game equipment and cassettes
- Providing news and broadcasts related to sports via computer, radio, and other means
Our National Pastime All The Time
MLB trademarked the phrase ”Our National Pastime All The Time” in 2010. The trademark applies to the following categories:
- Baseball games, tournaments, competitions, and exhibitions, live or recorded for distribution through broadcast media; entertainment services, including production and distribution of television programming via broadcast media
- Providing news and international messages in the sports field
- Telecommunication services
Spring training consists of a series of exhibition games and practices that precede the regular season. Spring training gives new players the chance to try out for position spots and lets established players practice before competitive play. Spring training is a popular draw for fans, who’ll travel to the warm climates of Florida and Arizona to enjoy the weather and watch their favorite MLB teams play.
Spring training was trademarked by the MLB in 2008 and applied to the following categories:
- Clothing and headwear, including t-shirts and caps
- Production and broadcast of TV shows and radio shows regarding baseball
The midsummer classic Major League All-star game is a yearly baseball game supported by the MLB, American League, and National League. Fans select All-Stars for starting fielders, managers for pitchers, and by managers and players for reserves. The term ”All-Star Summer” was trademarked in 2007 and applied to the following categories:
- Baseball games and competitions
- Organized community sporting events
- Clothing such as t-shirts, jerseys, and caps
- TV and radio broadcasting
- Entertainment and news services in the sports field
The trademark for MLB. MLB.TV is a streaming service offered by MLB, which allows you to catch up on your favorite baseball teams, and you can watch live and on-demand baseball games wherever you are. MLB.TV was registered in 2008 and covered this category:
- Telecommunications and broadcasting
This logo consists of the silhouette of a baseball player in a batting stance next to the design of a baseball surrounded by a background of stars and stripes. The logo was trademarked in 2005 in the following categories:
- Paper goods and printed matter
- Entertainment services regarding baseball games
- Clothing including t-shirts, jerseys, and caps
- Telecommunication services include television, cable, cable television, satellite television, and video broadcasting services relating to baseball
MLB has a catalog of intellectual property, including over 200 registered trademarks, with the USPTO. Most of their trademark applications pertain to logos, slogans, and marketing materials. It’s vitally important that you register your trademarks in order to access the correct legal protections. If you fail to register your unique branding with the trademark office, then you’ll have no legal recourse if you’re a victim of what would otherwise be considered trademark infringement.