A minor-league baseball team looking ahead to its first game in 2020 is already forecasting a shortfall of team merchandise.
Ralph Nelson, the managing partner of the Rocket City Trash Pandas, credits a memorable name, interesting logos, and people around the world with ties to the area for the recent show of support.
“The name has gone viral,” he said.
According to Nelson, the team introduced itself to the Madison, Alabama community with an event on Saturday at Dublin Park. Even with nearly $100,000 in team gear, he said ahead of the event that he was worried it would not be enough.
WAFF reported that the team sold about $40,000 worth of merchandise in just the first 90 minutes of Saturday’s event.
Here they are! Every Rocket City Trash Pandas logo unveiled today! Which is your favorite? Let us know below 👇 pic.twitter.com/LeBioZG4jL
— Brandiose (@Brandiose) October 28, 2018
“We bought probably three or four times the merchandise than I thought we were going to buy or budgeted for,” he explained.
Faced with a “fanatical” response to the unveiling, however, Nelson sees the potential need for a bigger budget.
“Everybody and their brother is writing that they want merchandise,” he said.
As for the name, a Lacey’s Spring resident nominated the trash panda — a playful term for raccoon — and the news quickly spread beyond the region.
The team shared a link on Twitter for those interested in purchasing merchandise from the online team store.
You asked for it!!!
The online store is LIVE!!!
Have at it!!! https://t.co/bZ6gOfiXzn
— Rocket City Trash Pandas! (@NBamaBaseball1) October 28, 2018
According to Nelson, the team has already received requests for merchandise from “30 foreign countries.”
Community Relations Director Emo Furfori listed a few of the foreign nations most interested in the unusual mascot.
“We have people from Japan, Germany, Ireland, England and Italy that would wear it tomorrow if we got it to them,” Furfori said.
Nelson estimated that about 80 percent of those expressing interest “have ties to Alabama or Huntsville,” while the remainder are “people who just love merchandise and logos.”
A press release cited “the region’s space heritage” for the colors and design of the logos on display.
“Space Black, Rocket Red, Sky Blue, and Trashcan Gray make up the club’s official colors,” the team explained.
In one logo, an American flag is seen in the background.
Brandiose, the California-based company responsible for turning the idea into a series of logos, shared in the team’s celebration of the mascot’s early popularity.
“The Rocket City Trash Pandas launch has received more engagement and more national attention than any launch in Minor League Baseball history,” a company spokesperson revealed in the team press release. “Fans are going to love seeing the experience come to life over the next year.
Nelson described the experience up to this point as overwhelming.
He said he and the team do not know what to expect going forward, describing the response to the unveiling as “uncharted waters.”
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