A Tribute to the MLB and ‘Game of Thrones’ Content Partnership

Baseball is coming

game of thrones bobblehead mobile
Michael Ivins/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

It is known—HBO’s megahit Game of Thrones will air its final season beginning April 12, capping off a nearly eight-year run as the most-talked-about, tweeted about, whatever-ed about television property. It’s a good show and I bet ONE37PM will be talking about it a lot soon! But today I’m talking about possibly my favorite aspect of the Thrones experience, a partnership that will also be concluding this season.

Of course, I’m talking about the Game of Thrones content partnership with Major League Baseball.

On paper, Game of Thrones and baseball certainly have a few storylines in common. Like the competition for the titular Throne, baseball only crowns one champion every year. There’s a hierarchy of contenders. Major League Baseball is filled with moments that, while they might not seem like much in the moment—a small, nagging injury to a star player, a seemingly meaningless getaway game that winds up giving a team an important tiebreaker—can come back around to matter months (or even years) later. Both seasons can be complete slogs, but when an electric moment happens, it makes the whole grind worth it.

Given that Game of Thrones tends to launch in April—the same month as the beginning of baseball season—my guess is that timing was a big factor here. But there’s one phrase from the campaign that will forever branded in my mind, one that I can’t shake, a line I’ve come to love through the sacred and time-tested rite of hating something enough (Ed Sheeran’s “Galway Girl”) that all of a sudden you wake up one day and you love it.


In the Game of Thrones shows and books—which I have read, something I’m legally obligated to say anytime it comes up—”winter is coming” is a broad, sweeping aphorism which bottles a lot of the show’s major dramas. The series’ protagonists, the Starks, live in the castle Winterfell, and for them, the adage of “Winter is coming” serves as a commitment device to keep their eyes on the future and to prepare for its (pretty much universally shitty) outcomes. Don’t get too high on yourself—winter is coming. In the general arc of the series, the “long night” has returned in the form of White Walkers and their army, winter incarnate. Just as a vibe, "Winter is coming" is a foreboding, morbid message—live today, but remember that death is coming.

Rounding back to “winter is coming" and its echo in baseball's GoT x MLB marketing…I would not say this is a match. While plenty of sports storylines are grafted onto metaphors for life, echoing Thrones’ tagline ain’t it. But that’s why it rules.

“You’d better watch this Mets-Pirates game because one day you’re going to be dead!” is my read on the meaning of “Baseball is coming,” but, like “Winter is coming,” there’s a lot of ways it can be read. Baseball ends when winter is starting, roughly—a barren stretch of baseball-less days is always ahead, which is a menacing proposition for any diehard fan of the game. 

While I'm not sure I'll ever find inner peace through meditating on the subject further, I'm most grateful for the American application of this partnership: Making as much hybrid collectible crap as possible. Take for instance this Noah Syndergaard bobblehead the Mets are giving away on April 27: There's no choice but to embrace one of the best media partnerships of all time.

Baseball is coming, y'all—valar fucking morghulis. 

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