Another record year for Minor League Baseball retail sales, totaling $73.8 million in 2018, marked by continued strong sales from the likes of the Durham Bulls, Sacramento River Cats and Trenton Thunder.
The $73.8 million total marks a 4.2 percent increase over 2017’s total of $70.8 million, which had been the highest total recorded since Minor League Baseball’s Licensing Program began in 1992. The numbers are based on total licensed merchandise sales from Jan. 1–Dec. 31, 2018, and include the 160 teams that charge admission to their games.
The Top 25 list includes (alphabetically, with Major League affiliate): 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).
The Charleston RiverDogs, Corpus Christi Hooks, Gwinnett Stripers, Pawtucket Red Sox, Richmond Flying Squirrels and San Antonio Missions are new additions to the 2018 list after a hiatus in 2017, though all 25 teams have made the list at least once before (the Stripers previously made an appearance as the Gwinnett Braves). Durham is the only team to make the list every year since the first ranking was established in 1993. Additionally, six teams have made the list every year of their existence, or since the list originated in 1993: Columbia Fireflies (three years), Durham Bulls (26 years), El Paso Chihuahuas (five years), Lehigh Valley IronPigs (12 years), Sacramento River Cats (19 years) and Trenton Thunder (25 years).
Twenty different Major League organizations were represented by teams on the list, with only the Boston Red Sox, Colorado Rockies, New York Yankees, San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants placing two affiliates in the Top 25. The Pawtucket Red Sox were the only team to make the list using the nickname of their major league affiliate.
“Minor League Baseball team names and logos continue to grow in popularity each year. Our teams work hard to promote their brands and solidify MiLB identities in the conversation among the most enjoyed brands in professional sports,” said Brian Earle, Minor League Baseball’s head of licensing and consumer products. “To have their names and logos recognized and admired by fans locally, nationally and, in come cases, globally, speaks to the tremendous amount of effort and attention our teams dedicate to creating, building and promoting their brands.”