The Indianapolis Indians, which have seen a 77 percent increase in merchandise sales growth over the last decade, have been no small part of Minor League Baseball’s drive to record merchandise sales.
Last year, the Indians, the AAA affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, sold $853,341 worth of licensed merchandise and were one of MiLB’s top 25 teams in that category. MiLB declined to disclose exactly where the Indians rank, but with 15 percent growth—fueled by the remodeled Hot Corner gift shop—last year alone, the team was likely in the top 10.
Minor League Baseball teams scored a combined record of $60.3 million in merchandise sales last year, MiLB officials recently reported.
That total marks an 8.8 percent increase over the 2013 total of $55.4 million in retail sales, which had been the second-highest total recorded since Minor League Baseball’s licensing program began in 1992. The previous record was $60 million in sales, set in 1994.
The totals are based on licensed merchandise sales from January 1 through December 31, 2014, and include the 160 teams in the domestic-based leagues that charge admission to their games.
In addition to the Indians, the Fort Wayne TinCaps also made the top 25 as did the Reno [Nevada] Aces, which are co-owned by Indiana Pacers owner Herb Simon.
Online sales have played a significant role in the steady growth of merchandise sales, as Minor League Baseball experienced a 17.6 percent increase over 2013.
“Our consumers are taking advantage of the opportunity to buy Minor League Baseball merchandise online and at the ballpark,” said Sandie Hebert, director of licensing for Minor League Baseball. “Our clubs reported online sales in all 50 states and several foreign countries, highlighting Minor League Baseball’s popularity across the country and abroad.”