RESEARCH QUESTION : The purpose of this study is to explore the financial effect of four types of team name changes, three of which have not been previously studied. We do so in the context of development leagues where rebranding occurs with considerable frequency, thus affecting a great number of sport managers.
RESEARCH METHODS : The effect of rebranding on club revenue was derived by combining the results of two analyses. The first used an economic demand equation to examine the attendance variations of 475 Minor League Baseball teams in 244 cities in the United States and Canada between 1980 and 2011 that engaged in one (or more) of four different types of name changes. The second examined changes in merchandise sales after a rebranding effort.
RESULTS AND FINDINGS : The results indicate that development teams fail to derive financial gains from adopting the names of their major league parent clubs. Instead, teams that abandon unique local names see large attendance decreases suggesting that local names generate greater brand awareness and brand image than their major league counterparts. The largest merchandise gains are generated by teams that adopt new, local names. IMPLICATIONS : These findings further our understanding of the outcomes of brand management and rebranding efforts by acknowledging that former and future names have varying levels of brand equity that have real effects on consumer purchasing behaviors and subsequent financial gains and losses.