Thursday September 21, 2023
The Best Employers in Sports Survey is Now Open!

Minor League Baseball Sets Merchandise Records

Front Office Sports Today

Could Promotion-Relegation work in College Football?

The proposal aims to create an exciting media product while reducing travel for non-football sports.
Listen Now
September 21, 2023 | Podcast
Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

The 160 teams in Minor League Baseball compiled all of their merchandise sales for 2016 and broke a league record with $68.3 million.

The Columbia Fireflies are still feeling the “Tebow effect” and have some of the most merchandise sales in the MiLB. Photo via The State.

The 160 teams in Minor League Baseball compiled all of their merchandise sales for 2016 and broke a league record with $68.3 million. In 2015, the teams sold $65.1 million, which was the previous record. 2016 beat this by a little over 5%.

According to, “The numbers are based on total licensed merchandise sales from January 1 — December 31, 2016, and include the 160 teams in the domestic-based leagues that charge admission to their games.” The league did not list the exact order of the teams, nor did they release the exact amount of merchandise sales brought in by each club.

16 of the top 25 are Triple-A clubs, five are Double-A, and four are Single-A. This is most likely because Triple-A teams consist of the players closest to making the Major Leagues, or notable players who don’t have a consistent spot on the Big League roster.

Triple-A teams also seem to be in bigger cities compared to the other two divisions, such as Nashville, Indianapolis and Salt Lake City. This will draw more fans into the game, thus selling more merchandise.

One of the top 25 hails from Toledo, Ohio. The Mud Hens find themselves at the forefront of MiLB merchandise sales. Their Director of Merchandise and Licensing, Craig Katz, gave praise to Toledo fans.

“The Mud Hens are proud to once again be a member of Minor League Baseball’s Top 25 Teams in Licensed Merchandise Sales. Our fans are the best in baseball, and they showed that in 2016 by purchasing record numbers of Mud Hens Licensed product. We are proud that our fans show their pride by purchasing and wearing Mud Hens Licensed product year after year.”

The Toledo Mud Hens were among league leaders in merch sales in 2016. Photo via

The Columbia Fireflies, along with six other clubs made the list for 2016 after not making the Top 25 in 2015. This can probably be chalked up to Tim Tebow and the effect he has had on the Single-A team in South Carolina.

The Chicago Cubs, along with the Reds, Astros, Giants and Padres have two affiliates in the list. The Iowa Cubs just made the list in 2016 as well, suggesting that the success of the Major League team trickled down to the minor leagues as well.

Another factor appears to be Brandiose, as seven of the 25 teams were rebranded by them: Nashville Sounds, Richmond Flying Squirrels, Omaha Storm Chasers, Frisco RoughRiders, Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, Charlotte Knights and El Paso Chihuahuas.

Brandiose is a “creative ideas and branding company that helps make sports teams famous by celebrating their hometown stories,” according to Jason Klien, one of the owners. This explains why 28% of the teams on this list owe a lot to Brandiose. Their job is to make the people of the city support and love their team again, and the money follows.

When asked why their rebranding efforts are successful as to getting teams onto MiLB’s top merchandise seller’s list, Jason offered his thoughts:

The most successful brands are ones where the staff does an exceptional job connecting their brand to their community. You want your brand to remind fans why they love and live in their communities. You also want your brand to celebrate the unique stories that make your community special. And often the strange or even weird stories are ones that grab national attention and drive clubs to the top of the list.

Seven of Brandiose’s rebrand jobs have cracked the top 25. Photo via Brandiose.

These numbers are only going to increase over the coming years, as Minor League Baseball becomes more popular throughout the country. Teams will continue rebranding and moving to the best locations for them. MiLB prices are also much cheaper than MLB, and the marketing/themes for games are only getting more creative.

Triple-A Teams

Charlotte Knights (White Sox)

Columbus Clippers (Indians)

Durham Bulls (Rays)

El Paso Chihuahuas (Padres)

Fresno Grizzlies (Astros)

Indianapolis Indians (Pirates)

Iowa Cubs (Cubs)

Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Phillies)

Louisville Bats (Reds)

Nashville Sounds (Athletics)

Oklahoma City Dodgers (Dodgers)

Omaha Storm Chasers (Royals)

Sacramento River Cats (Giants)

Salt Lake Bees (Angels)

Tacoma Rainiers (Mariners)

Toledo Mud Hens (Tigers)

Double-A Teams

Corpus Christi Hooks (Astros)

Frisco RoughRiders (Rangers)

Portland Sea Dogs (Red Sox)

Trenton Thunder (Yankees)

Richmond Flying Squirrels (Giants)

Single-A Teams

Columbia Fireflies (Mets)

Dayton Dragons (Reds)

Lake Elsinore Storm (Padres)

South Bend Cubs (Cubs)

Front Office Sports is a leading multi-platform publication and industry resource that covers the intersection of business and sports.

Want to learn more, or have a story featured about you or your organization? Contact us today.

If you liked this, click the???? below so other people will see this here on Medium.

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

MiLB Attendance Spike Boosts Baseball's Recovery

Minor League Baseball has returned to pre-pandemic attendance patterns
A young fan holds a sign for Julio Rodriguez during the 2023 MLB Home Run Derby.

MLB Median Ticket Buyer Down to 43 Years Old

Games are shorter and higher scoring thanks to new rules.
Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. before the 2023 MLB Home Run Derby.

MLB Home Run Derby Draws Lowest Viewership in Five Years

The 2023 Derby averaged 6.11 million viewers across ESPN and ESPN2.
The Mets have been a disappointment this season.

MLB Payroll Trends Turned Upside Down At All-Star Break

MLB's historical payroll norms are being inverted like never before.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

Could Promotion-Relegation work in College Football?


Featured Today

Boise State Broncos running back Ashton Jeanty (2) runs the ball against the North Dakota Fighting Hawks during the first half at Albertsons Stadium.

The First Official Proposal for Promotion-Relegation In College Football

Realignment is forcing Group of 5 schools to rethink their structure.
A general view of Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium Stadium.
September 20, 2023

Political Support Grows for RFK Stadium Bill

The Commanders exited RFK after the 1996 NFL season for FedEx Field.
Philadelphia Eagles jerseys.
September 19, 2023

Fanatics Fumbles Eagles Merchandise, Pauses Future Shipments

Michael Rubin has apologized for crooked Eagles apparel sent to fans.
September 19, 2023

Coach Prime Is Ratings Gold, And Everyone Wants A Piece Of The Pie

Colorado games continue to deliver huge viewership numbers.


Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Chicago Cubs
New York
Tri Star Sports and Entertainment Group, Inc.
USA - Multiple Locations

MLS’ Chris Schlosser on Pioneering the Digital-First Sports League with AI

Chris Schlosser discusses MLS's growth and digital transformation.
April 25, 2023

Oakland A’s Could Share Stadium with Triple-A Team

The Oakland A's could be searching for a place to play.
Titans stadium.
April 19, 2023

Titans' Historic New $2.1B Stadium One Step Closer to Reality

About $1.26B in public money would go toward the new stadium.
May 20, 2022

Crypto Crash Impact on Sports Sponsorships

Prior to the last two weeks, cryptocurrencies, NFTs, exchanges, and a host…
March 11, 2022

The Evolution of Consumer Wearables

The wearables market has seen incredible amounts of growth since the onset of the pandemic. Trends like telemedicine and remote patient monitoring have helped spur adoption and inspired new consumer products that allow for the tracking and collection of biometric data.
February 11, 2022

The Role of Live Sports in Streaming

The streaming wars have intensified as the field is as competitive as ever. One way to retain customers? The answer might be live sports.
February 4, 2022

Super Bowl Ad Market Examined

The Super Bowl is now only one week away and the stakes…
February 3, 2022

Making Headlines

NFL: The Giants hired Laura Young as director of coaching operations. Young…