Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp merchandise is flying off the shelves, a little more than month after the minor league ball team’s owner changed the name from the Suns.
Since the name change, Jumbo Shrimp hats, shirts, beer koozies and other memorabilia have been shipped to 47 states and six foreign countries. Due to the huge demand, several items have been backordered as holiday shoppers snap them up.
But keychains and hats don’t necessarily translate into ticket sales. WJCT Sports Analyst Cole Pepper said unless it translates into butts in seats, it’s bunk.
“If people decide that having the Jumbo Shrimp hat or having the Jumbo Shrimp jersey or shirt is enough, then it’s not going to change their behavior going to the games or not. But if it triggers them to say, ‘You know what, I’ve got the hat now. Let’s go to a couple more games,’ ” he said. “Then it could have an impact on their ticket sales.”
A day after announcing the name change, owner Ken Babby said on First Coast Connect, when he changed his old team’s name to the Akron Rubber Ducks, he saw a close to 30 percent jump in attendance.
“We took 2016 as a year really building trust and making some deposits into the community trust bank if you will,” he said. “... I think that we really strive to build a brand and a logo and name that matches the experience we’ve worked so hard to build.”
Babby’s moment of truth will come when the Jumbo Shrimp open their 2017 season in April. The Jumbo Shrimp store is open now at the baseball grounds and online.
Reporter Ryan Benk can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at (904) 358-6319 or on Twitter @RyanMichaelBenk.