In recent years, the concept of ‘networked’ Marketplaces has become a game-changer across various industries. These Marketplaces represent a shift towards interconnected ecosystems where multiple stakeholders come together to create value. A prime example of this transformative approach can be witnessed in the remarkable growth story of the Minor League Baseball (MiLB) Marketplace.
At the heart of ‘networked’ Marketplaces is the idea of synergistic collaboration. In the context of sports, this translates into leagues, teams, and fans coming together within a shared digital ecosystem. The MiLB Marketplace exemplifies how this collaboration can lead to astounding success.
- Inception and rapid expansion: The MiLB Marketplace was re-launched just two years ago, as part of the leagues larger partnership with Major League Baseball – and in this particular case the team at MLB Auctions. At the start a mere six teams out of the 120 in MiLB were active participants.
- Universal adoption + exponential growth: Today, over 100 teams, with the ongoing support and training, marketing and promotion form MLB Auctions with assistance from dedicated account managers from Commerce Dynamics, are actively participating in the MiLB Marketplace, cementing its position as an indispensable platform for teams and leagues alike to engage fans, scale traffic, users and revenue.
- Traffic soars:
- 2020-22 (2-year average): + 168% growth
- User database soars:
- 2020-22 (2-year average): + 116% growth
- Revenue soars:
- 2020-22 (2-year average): + 324% growth
- Driving force: A key driver behind this meteoric rise has been MiLB’s mandate, making it obligatory for teams to use the platform unless under contract. By making the platform mandatory, the league can ensure a standardized approach to merchandising, ticket sales, and fan engagement across all its teams. This consistency can enhance the overall brand image and fan experience.
Individual team success:
Empowering teams: The MiLB Marketplace empowers individual teams to curate and showcase their unique memorabilia and experiences. Each team has ‘seller’ access, enabling them to load team-branded content onto their pages within the platform.
Innovative strategies: Teams have harnessed innovative strategies to drive both revenue and fan engagement. Notably, auctions have been a popular tactic, with some teams auctioning off naming rights to specific games. Arkansas Travelers stands out with their distinctive auctions, some of which are currently live on the platform.
Revenue highlights: An exemplary success story within the MiLB Marketplace, the Somerset Patriots have achieved impressive sales figures for their game-worn jerseys:
- Anthony Volpe’s Infielder Game-Worn Marvel Defenders of the Diamond Jersey sold for $2,530.
- Blane Abeyta’s Pitcher Game-Worn and Signed Military Appreciation Jersey was sold for $2,130.
- Jasson Dominguez’s Outfielder Game-Worn and Signed Military Appreciation Jersey fetched a remarkable $3,670.
- The honor of the most expensive jersey sold in 2023 goes to the Amarillo Sod Poodles, whose #11 Jordan Lawlar jersey commanded an impressive $4,022.00.
The MiLB Marketplace showcases the potential of such ecosystems, but it also points to a future where sports organizations of all sizes can leverage this model to enhance fan engagement, drive traffic, initiate charitable endeavours and drive revenue growth.