Little League Swings Social Bat; Dons Oakley As Sponsor

Little League International may be using nostalgia to power its 75th birthday celebration, but it has given the campaign a new-media change-up. Users are uploading their favorite baseball memories via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram so that they can be incorporated into a digital baseball mosaic, which will be unveiled as part of its June 6 anniversary.

And for every uploaded memory, Little League is then donating $1 -- up to $50,000 -- to Pitch In For Baseball, an organization that distributes gently used baseball equipment to kids in need around the world, from the U.S. to Uganda. 

The effort, which Little League put together with Atlanta agencies Hothouse and Vert (handling social media), says the social angle is key, given its audience. Of the 2.4 million kids between 4 and 18 who participate in either its baseball or softball programs, the average age is around 13, says Brian McClintock, Little League's spokesperson. “We wanted to use the anniversary as a reason to celebrate where the league has been and where it's going, by collecting these memories from everyone, whether they are players, coaches, parents or fans.”

The League is also showcasing “Little League: A history,” a documentary created by WVIA, a PBS station, and which is narrated by baseball broadcaster Vin Scully. And it's celebrating the 40th anniversary of its softball division.

The group, which is the world’s largest youth sports program, operating in 80 countries, also just announced that it has added Oakley as a national sponsor, joining the likes of Honda, All, Gatorade, Chiquita, and Sam's Clubs.

Oakley recently introduced a line of youth sport sunglasses called Quarter Jacket, and the spokesperson says Little League is stepping up its awareness of eye safety for young players. (The American Academy of Ophthalmology estimates that 90% of eye injuries are preventable with the right gear.)

Oakley, owned by Italian eyewear giant Luxxotica, says it will outfit regional winners at the Little League World Series, and also plans to be on site during the series to educate consumers on the benefits of eye protection, and show off its High Definition Optics.

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