These Are the Minor League Baseball Teams That Sell the Most Merch: Here's Why
In 2019, we've become increasingly obsessed with Minor League Baseball merchandise, and it turns out we're not the only ones. The MiLB just announced 2018 was a record year for sales, and it gave a breakdown of the top 25 teams making waves.
According to sportslogos.net, Minor League Baseball had a banner year in the merchandise department, and reached nearly $74 million in sales from all 160 affiliated teams. This is a 4 percent jump from 2017's $71 million in sales, which was a record for that year.
The top 25 teams leading the sales numbers are regulars on the list, but one team was a new addition: the Gwinnett Stripers. And, the Durham Bulls are the true sales superstars, as they've made the list every year since it debuted in1993.
Here's the complete list: Albuquerque Isotopes (Rockies), Charleston RiverDogs (Yankees), Charlotte Knights (White Sox), Columbia Fireflies (Mets), Columbus Clippers (Indians), Corpus Christi Hooks (Astros), Durham Bulls (Rays), El Paso Chihuahuas (Padres), Fort Wayne TinCaps (Padres), Gwinnett Stripers (Braves), Hartford Yard Goats (Rockies), Indianapolis Indians (Pirates), Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (Marlins), Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Phillies), Nashville Sounds (Rangers), Pawtucket Red Sox, Portland Sea Dogs (Red Sox), Richmond Flying Squirrels (Giants), Rochester Red Wings (Twins), Sacramento River Cats (Giants), Salt Lake Bees (Angels), San Antonio Missions (Brewers), Tacoma Rainiers (Mariners), Toledo Mud Hens (Tigers) and Trenton Thunder (Yankees).
Minor League Baseball's incredible sales numbers provide some important lessons in the branding arena.
Here are some key takeaways:
1. Creativity is key.
Tonight, we’ll be wearing these jerseys, and we are auctioning them off NOW through the end of the 6th inning! 👏
— Fort Wayne TinCaps (@TinCaps) July 5, 2019
The Rocket City Trash Pandas are a perfect example of a successful minor league promotion. The team went all out on its branding, and it's outlandish enough that patrons will want to be a part of it. The same holds true for the teams on this list, including the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, who we spotlighted before. In sports apparel, it's not always about crafting an intimidating, "athletic" promotion. Instead, it's about creating something unique that fans will enjoy sporting.
2. Risks can be rewarding.
— Lehigh Valley IronPigs (@IronPigs) July 8, 2019
When the Lehigh IronPigs decided to go all in on Jawn, they risked alienating fans with a very niche concept. But, it ended up being a huge payoff, with the merchandise flying off the shelves. In other words, when it comes to promotional merchandise, the weird idea is oftentimes the best idea. Of course, you have to know your client's end-users and what they're looking for, but consider going for the less obvious branding ideas.
3. Special edition looks are hot sellers.
We're just 2 days away from #StrangerThings Night, and it'll be a blast.
Trust us - friends don't lie.
— Durham Bulls (@DurhamBulls) July 9, 2019
Along with the IronPigs, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers also learned the value of special edition merchandise. When they changed their name to the Udder Tuggers, they couldn't keep the branded apparel in stock. These special edition apparel items usually go alongside special edition events that get the fans in the seats. But, if you're already going all in on a special event, it's best to capitalize and merchandise it.