It may only be mid-February, but spring is here for baseball fans. Spring Training, that is, which kicks off this week in Florida and Arizona.
The start of Spring Training got me thinking about baseball players and whether they or their agents own their names as domains in .COM. I consulted Sports Pundit for the list of the top ten highest paid players in 2010 (not surprisingly, the top four all play for the Yankees). They are, from highest salary, Alex Rodriguez, CC Sabathia, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Johan Santana, Miguel Cabrera, Ryan Howard, Carlos Lee, Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Zambrano. Then, I ran a check on all their corresponding .COM domain names: AlexRodriguez.com, CCSabathia.com, etc.
As it turns out, only two of these domains – DerekJeter.com and JohanSantana.com – point to the players’ official websites. In both cases, the players’ representatives (a talent agency and a law firm, respectively) registered the domains, which is understandable; who has time to think about domain names when they’re busy winning the Golden Glove?
But among the other eight players, almost every domain name is squatted. Most are registered by a third party and used to host parked or pay-per-click sites. AlfonsoSoriano.com is a prime example. Moreover, in almost every case, the domain was registered after the players began playing in the Major League, and therefore were already public figures.
The one exception in this set is MiguelCabrera.com, which belongs to a New York realtor who has the same name as the Detroit Tigers’ first baseman. Miguel Cabrera the realtor has owned the domain name since 2000, three years before Miguel Cabrera the baseball player made his Major League debut with the Florida Marlins.
I was surprised to learn that ever Alex Rodriguez, the highest paid player in the MLB, not to mention one of the most famous, does not own AlexRodriguez.com Fortunately, though, ARod.com redirects to his official page on MLB.com.
The best usage of a domain name by a pro baseball player that I’ve seen is by Albert Pujols. Pujols will likely be among the highest players in the MLB next season. He owns AlbertPujols.com and directs it to the website of his charitable foundation at http://www.pujolsfamilyfoundation.org/. Even better than monetizing your personal brand is using it to give back.