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Volume 26 No. 232
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Triple-A Round Rock Express See Merch Boost From Astros Switch

The Triple-A PCL Round Rock Express' affiliation switch from the Rangers to the Astros is "boosting revenue" for the club, "particularly merchandise sales," according to a source cited by Kevin Lyttle of the AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN. Express GM Tim Jackson said that souvenir sales are "where the 20-year-old franchise has distanced itself from last year," even when "taking into account the expected bump a club gets from an affiliation swap." Jackson said overall merchandise sales are up 49%. He added, "We initially ran out of stock of throwback jerseys, but cap sales are the biggest thing, by far. Our best-selling item is the Fauxback cap. We've gotten positive bumps in a lot of areas." Meanwhile, at the Triple-A All-Star Break, the team's home attendance is up slightly, about 2.4%, or 210 fans per night, compared to this time last year (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 7/11).

FUN WITH NUMBERS: SPORTS BUSINESS JOURNAL's David Broughton reported MiLB and its 160 clubs in the U.S. and Canada combined for a record $73.9M in merchandise sales last year, up 4% from '17's $70.9M. That marks the category's "ninth straight annual increase." That bump was "certainly helped by the success of the nascent Hispanic/Latino fan engagement initiative Copa de la Diversion, or Fun Cup" (SPORTS BUSINESS JOURNAL, 7/8 issue).

TOP 25 MILB TEAMS MERCHANDISE SALES IN '18
Albuquerque Isotopes
Lehigh Valley IronPigs
Charleston RiverDogs
Nashville Sounds
Charlotte Knights
Pawtucket Red Sox
Columbia Fireflies
Portland Sea Dogs
Columbus Clippers
Richmond Flying Squirrels
Corpus Christi Hooks
Rochester Red Wings
Durham Bulls
Sacramento River Cats
El Paso Chihuahuas
Salt Lake Bees
Fort Wayne TinCaps
San Antonio Missions
Gwinnett Stripers
Tacoma Rainiers
Hartford Yard Goats
Toledo Mud Hens
Indianapolis Indians
Trenton Thunder
Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp
Download the
MILB Merchandise Chart

THE NAME GAME: In Jacksonville, Clayton Freeman noted 24 of the top 25 teams in sales "bear a name different" from their MLB parent club, and many of them "bring a decidedly offbeat flavor," including the El Paso Chihuahuas, Richmond Flying Squirrels and Sacramento River Cats. The Pawtucket Red Sox are the lone exception (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 7/9).