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Teams in minor leagues don’t want to get stuck in a rut using the same branding that they have used for decades. For that reason, they’ll sometimes shake things up with a rebrand or temporary branding to draw more fan attention. For those in charge of these rebrands, it’s all about telling a fun and authentic story that represents the team’s hometown.
Edited highlights appear below.
On the inception of “What Could Have Been” promotional nights in MiLB (0:10)
Klein: “Every Minor League Baseball rebrand usually has a name the team contest. There’s always a second place: a team name that didn’t make the cut. A couple of years ago we were collaborating with this team in Bowling Green and had this idea…what if for one night one only, the second-place name became the identity for the team. In Bowling Green, they have the largest underground cave system in North America. Inside the cave, there is this blind prehistoric cave shrimp…so we thought, for one night only, what if we were the blind cave shrimp?…That set off a new wave of promotional nights in Minor League Baseball.”
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On expanding a team’s brand to represent the food of the hometown (1:25)
Klein: “[What Could Have Been Nights] ushered in this thought of ‘what are some other ways that we can celebrate our hometowns?’ There are foods that are unique to our hometowns. In Staten Island with New York City, the pizza capital of the world, we thought ‘is there a way that we can celebrate pizza?’…So this is the Pizza Rats, which is an idea that we came up with for the Staten Island Yankees. People in New York went crazy for the Pizza Rats hat. Then we had the thought to deliver the hats in custom Pizza Rats pizza boxes and each order comes with parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper.”
On Copa de la Diversión (3:12)
Klein: “So much of baseball history is Latin American. [The sport] is such a part of Latin American culture. How do we expand our audience and celebrate all of the things that we love about Latin culture?…The Copa program is a great initiative where a handful of Minor League Baseball teams each celebrate a different part of Latin culture. A lot of it is hyper local as well.
White: “The big thing about creating any sort of beloved brand logo or merchandise is authenticity of story. When it comes to Copa especially, we really make sure we do our research and we interact with the local latin community there. They’re deeply involved in the creative process and making sure that the story is authentic.”
On the kind of stories MiLB teams should be telling with their branding (6:06)
White: “Ultimately, it all has to come back to fun. Minor League fun. We could tell the story of how many people died at a fort in San Antonio, which is true and authentic, but it’s not fun…but flying chanclas? Flying chanclas are fun.”
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