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Groundskeepers Get Endorsement Deals

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Source: Boston Red Sox

Endorsement deals might have dried up for athletes, but groundskeepers are doing fine.

Yep, you read that right.

In an effort to better tie its product to sports, Scott’s Miracle-Gro has signed deals with three baseball teams – the Boston Red Sox, the Cincinnati Reds and the Atlanta Braves. The deals include access to each of the team’s groundskeepers for promotional days and radio advertising, branding on the grounds crew and on the drag mats they use during the game.

“Baseball fits perfectly with what we sell, including turf builder, fertilizer, and grass seeds,” said Jeff Keyser, vice president of marketing for Scott’s. “And since most teams have grass fields, taking good care of the grass is an integral part of the game.”

Not only that, Scott’s found out in marketing research that baseball fans represent a perfect demographic of their average buyer.

In Boston, Scott’s is capitalizing on its relationship with the team by offering people who buy a Scott’s Miracle Gro product at places like Home Depot, Lowe’s and Ace Hardware, a chance to win a day at Fenway Park, get a VIP tour and actually get on the field with Red Sox groundskeeper Dave Mellor.

Troup Parkinson, the vice president of client services for the Red Sox, said the Scott’s deal is a one-year, six-figure deal, but the sponsorship – since it’s so visible – has gotten plenty of buzz. The grounds crew pulls drag mats adorned with Scott’s logo during the third, fifth and eighth innings, Parkinson said.

Keyser said that Scott’s will further use the groundskeepers by having their tips broadcast in the stadium during the game.

“People want to use our products, but they are really confused about what to do,” Keyser said. “That’s why producing educational tips makes sense.”

Despite the recession, it has been a pretty good year for the Scott’s Miracle-Gro company. The economic downturn has meant that more people want to take care of their own lawns. As of 10 a.m. ET, shares are trading at $35.70, less than $2 away from its 52-week high.

Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com