Minor League Baseball released its list of Top 25 teams in licensed merchandise sales for 2013, and the list includes some teams receiving criticism when logos and names were first announced.
Now, those of us with longer memories remember when the team names and logos of the Albuquerque Isotopes, Lansing Lugnuts, Richmond Flying Squirrels, Lehigh Valley IronPigs, Pensacola Blue Wahoos, Reading Fightin Phils and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders were announced. These team names were farcical, insults to local fans, disrespectful of the game, said the critics.
Yet all these teams were all in the top 25 in Minor League Baseball sales. Last year was a pretty good one for MiLB merchandising: The combined totals of all 160 teams topped more than $55.4 million in retail sales. The total is the second-highest sales figure for the licensing program since its inception in 1992 and a 2.6 percent rise from the previous year. The total licensed merchandise sales, which only trail those from 1994, were calculated for January 1 – December 31, 2013, and are based on the 160 teams in the domestic-based leagues that charge admission to their games.
Alphabetically, the top 25: the Albuquerque Isotopes, Carolina Mudcats, Columbus Clippers, Corpus Christi Hooks, Durham Bulls, Fort Wayne TinCaps, Hillsboro Hops, Indianapolis Indians, Lake Elsinore Storm, Lakewood BlueClaws, Lansing Lugnuts, Lehigh Valley IronPigs, Midland RockHounds, Myrtle Beach Pelicans, Pensacola Blue Wahoos, Portland Sea Dogs, Reading Fightin Phils, Reno Aces, Richmond Flying Squirrels, Round Rock Express, Sacramento River Cats, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, Toledo Mud Hens, Trenton Thunder and Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.
“The Top 25 list reflects the popularity of Minor League Baseball team names and logos not only among all baseball fans, but with casual observers and celebrities as well,” said Sandie Hebert, Director of Licensing for Minor League Baseball. “The popularity of our logos is due in part to the fact that our marks are fresh, inventive and most of all, fun. Each team has its own unique identity.”
Online sales have also played a significant role in the steady growth of merchandise sales, increasing a staggering 27 percent from the previous year. According to data compiled by Baseball Internet Rights Company (BIRCO), online sales saw a 28 percent growth through the end of April as compared to the same time period in the previous year.
“With fans now having the ability to shop for merchandise in both team stores and online, we continue to expand Minor League Baseball’s reach through branding efforts,” Hebert added. “Minor League Baseball merchandise bridges the gap between on-field authenticity and fashion.”
The MiLB online store platform currently hosts 143 live sites which includes both team and league sites and will soon adopt a responsive web design (RWD) approach to capitalize on consumers making online purchases on a variety of mobile devices. Of the Top 25 teams, 24 have online stores using the MiLB platform.
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