Leveling the Field: Major League Baseball Batting for Minority Businesses. (Business Opportunities)
Hughes, Alan, Black Enterprise
Major League Baseball is trying to level the playing field through a program designed to encourage minority- and female-owned businesses to form partnerships with the league.
As part of the league's Diverse Business Partners Program, which began in 1998, buyers at both the league and for each team keep minority and female entrepreneurs informed about the products and services the league is looking to acquire. Through the program, the league has awarded contracts to certified minority- and female-owned providers of everything from transportation, printing, stationery, office furniture, janitorial and maintenance to marketing, advertising, public relations, and legal services. In addition, information is networked so that if one team needs a product or service, the league can provide referrals.
Through the program, the league has contracted more than $200 million with minority- and women-owned businesses from 1998 to 2000, of which more than $75 million accounted for direct business-to-business goods and services.
"The vendor would contact us here at the central office, and at that time, w&t have an open discussion about their service, their service level, and their ability to service Major League Baseball either on a local, regional, or national level," explains Wendy Lewis, vice president of strategic planning for recruitment and diversity at Major League Baseball. "[Afterward], we come to an agreement on not only the commodity but also on their ability to provide us with it. …