ST. LOUIS (Feb. 25, 2014) – Mr. Smith is going to Washington – again. His goal? To rightfully honor America’s National Pastime and make MLB Opening Day a national holiday.
Hall of Fame shortstop, Ozzie Smith, has partnered with Budweiser, the Official Beer of Major League Baseball, to make Opening Day a holiday, beginning with a petition launched today at WhiteHouse.gov. In order for MLB Opening Day to be considered for a day of national observance, the petition needs 100,000 signatures within 30 days to warrant Administration review and a response from the White House. Baseball fans 21 and older are encouraged to visitBudweiser.com/OpeningDay to join the cause before Opening Day on Monday, March 31.
“On Opening Day, every team is in contention to win the World Series,” said Smith, renowned for starting each baseball season with a backflip on the infield before taking his place at shortstop for the St. Louis Cardinals. “Nothing can top that optimism, with the excitement felt at every level of play – from the players to the most casual of baseball fans. Now let’s make it an official holiday so that everyone can join the celebration.”
According to a recent survey, an estimated 22.2 million Americans, age 21 and older, admit to having played “hooky” from work or other commitments to attend or watch an Opening Day game, with fans 21-44 years old twice as likely as their older counterparts to do so. The No. 1 reason given for Opening Day being so special to fans is that it means a fresh start for their team, followed closely by the opportunity to spend time with family and friends watching a baseball game.
“Millions of baseball fans already consider Opening Day to be an unofficial national holiday, so we’re pleased that our longtime partner, Budweiser, along with Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith have taken the steps to formalize it,” said Tim Brosnan, Major League Baseball Executive Vice President, Business. “Commissioner Selig always reminds us that Opening Day brings hope and faith to fans across the country. We know this will be a special year for Major League Baseball and Budweiser’s efforts to recognize Opening Day in this fashion starts the season with a fitting salute.”
To support the movement and drive signatures to the WhiteHouse.gov petition, Budweiser is launching an extensive campaign, complete with an online video series featuring Smith and digital advertising buys across such platforms as ESPN.com and MLB.com. Anticipating that the petition will garner 100,000 signatures by Opening Day, Budweiser plans to celebrate by serving day-fresh draught beer at most home openers in stadiums where Anheuser-Busch products are sold. Also, as it has in years past, Budweiser, the Official Beer of MLB and Presenting Sponsor of Opening Week, will convert more than 6 million cases of beer to feature marks of MLB and logos of 23 of its 30 teams, available nationwide beginning March 3.
“Budweiser and baseball have gone hand-in-hand ever since both were born in the 1800s,” said Tom Kraus, Director, Budweiser. “Budweiser has been there for every major milestone – every record-setting event, home run and no-hitter – making it the only brand that can authentically put forth a movement of this magnitude. We can think of no better way to honor America’s National Pastime than by observing the day and encouraging everyone to celebrate with friends, family and fellow baseball fans.”
For more information on joining Budweiser’s movement to make Opening Day a holiday, visit Budweiser.com/OpeningDay.