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Minor League Baseball's Rocket City Trash Pandas Pass $2M in Merch Sales In Just Over a Year

January 7, 2020 | Brendan Menapace

The Rocket City Trash Pandas are the Minor League Baseball team in pole position for “Most Creative Franchise Name” in a race full of truly wonderful names. We’re not the only ones who think so, as fans well beyond the Alabama team’s home are grabbing Trash Panda merchandise—more than $2 million worth of it, to be exact.

According to WAFF, the franchise passed $2 million in merchandise sales on Dec. 21, just over a year since it unveiled its logo and identity in October 2018.

While a good chunk of the sales were from people admiring the Trash Pandas from afar, with 24 percent of the sales being online sales, 76 percent of sales were at the team’s official store in Huntsville, Ala.

“This surpasses even our wildest expectations,” said Trash Pandas president and CEO Ralph Nelson, whose business card probably rules. “We are grateful to our fans throughout North Alabama and the entire Tennessee Valley, as well as those around the world, for support that is simply unprecedented in Minor League Baseball. As I’ve said repeatedly, I do not believe any fan base has ever embraced a new team like ours has. We are truly humbled by this, and it is only the beginning.”

For a Minor League Baseball franchise, hype is built around two things: local pride and an appealing aesthetic. Every baseball fan has their Major League Baseball allegiance already. But Minor League games are a great way for fans to either see professional baseball in their own town where there might not be other sports teams, so if you can match that captive market with a branding identity that people want to rep, that’s a huge success.

The Trash Pandas’ ability to hit the branding nail on the head and create something that made such a splash in the sports world, where fans all over the world wanted to be a part of this small team’s fan base, is remarkable.

We’ve said it a million times, but we’ll keep saying it: If you’re looking for some lessons in brand appeal and creativity, pay attention to Minor League Baseball.

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