MiLB President Responds to Comments by NCAA'S Emmert


MYRTLE BEACH, SC June 23, 2014 – The Myrtle Beach Pelicans and teams across Minor League Baseball took to Twitter on Thursday, June 19th in response to comments made by NCAA President Mark Emmert. The Pelicans and other teams showed their disapproval of Emmertʹs comments by tweeting pictures and using #MiLB and #ReallyMark.

062314 MiLB President Responds to NCAA's Emmert

The barrage of tweets supporting MiLB started when Pelicans owner Chuck Greenberg, @chuckgreenberg, tweeted ʺNCAA Prez Mark Emmert says minor league sports fail at fan support/experience #MiLB #ReallyMark?ʺ Greenbergʹs tweet, which included the picture to the left, was cited by Sports Business Daily as the Tweet of the Week.

The Pelicans followed the lead of their owner and jumped to defend their industry.

Pelicans General Manager Andy Milovich, @ARMilovich, retweeted Greenbergʹs picture adding, ʺTime 4 Emmert 2 sit down w @darrenrovell to learn about #MiLB ‐ 41 million fans in 2013 #reallymark?ʺ Shortly after, teams all across MiLB joined the cause.

Over 600 tweets have been posted using #ReallyMark since Thursday, June 19th including the following:

  • A photo of a sold out stadium from the Greensboro Grasshoppers with the text, ʺ@NCAA Build it, Brand it, Sell it and they will come. @GSOHoppers have proved your statement false for 10 years!ʺ
  • Eugene Emeralds: ʺNCAA President Mark Emmert is entitled to his opinion…and we are entitled to disagree with him #ReallyMarkʺ
  • Charlotte Knights: ʺAnother AWESOME night at BB&T Ballpark! 18th sell‐out of the season! @TheKingMeck met the fans! #MiLB #ReallyMarkʺ
  • Benjamin Hill, @bensbiz: ʺHow about creating a Mark Emmert racing mascot? Trips over his own feet and then runs the wrong way before being escorted out. #ReallyMarkʺ
  • Lake County Captains unveiled a new promotional night: ʺCaptains to host Mark Emmert Fan Appreciation Night on July 2 #AllAboard #ReallyMarkʺ They also included a link to the article detailing the promotion.

Additional tweets can be found by searching #ReallyMark on Twitter.

Not only did the Pelicans lead the charge on Twitter, on Thursday night they also held an in‐game promotion where a fan played Pin the Tail on Mark Emmert. The team encouraged fans tweet pictures of the promotion as well as pictures of their stadium experience that night using #ReallyMark. Click here to view the video of the promotion.

Milovich later commented that, ʺWe take great pride in providing an fantastic fan experience. The Pelicans have been ranked as a top 25 stadium experience in all of sports by Stadium Journey Magazine for the past two years running. That is great point of pride for us and something we do not take lightly.ʺ

Stadium Journey Magazine rates the top 100 stadium experiences each year. The past two years the Pelicans have been ranked in the top 25 of all sports finishing ahead of ʺbucket‐listʺ venues such as Bristol Motor Speedway, Carolina
Stadium, Cowboys Stadium, Notre Dame Football and Churchill Downs. The Pelicans are also rated as a top three stadium experience in MiLB. Harrison Huntley, @hhuntley17, from Stadium Journey was at TicketReturn.Com Field this
past Saturday and tweeted, ʺTonight Iʹm in Myrtle Beach reviewing the home of the @Pelicanbaseball. No question, this is one of the best @MiLB parks. @StadiumJourneyʺ.

In response to Emmertʹs comments, MiLB President Pat OʹConnor released the following statement.

Minor League Baseball has entertained fans through life’s changes for more than 113 years
By Pat O’Conner, President & CEO, Minor League Baseball

On Thursday, June 19, the President of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) testified in a landmark antitrust lawsuit filed against his organization, and stated the following, “To convert college sports into professional sports
would be tantamount to converting it into minor league sports. And we know that in the U.S. minor league sports arenʹt very successful either for fan support or for the fan experience.”

We respectfully disagree, Dr. Emmert, as the facts are quite simple.

Minor League Baseball has strength in numbers. After nearly a decade of topping more than 41 million game attendees each season, MiLB’s foundation is stronger than ever. That number is more than the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLS. And as the governing body for all professional baseball teams in the United States, Canada, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic that are affiliated with Major League Baseball clubs through their farm systems, total membership includes 20 leagues and 256 clubs.

Minor League Baseball is family‐friendly and affordable. In data gathered from our teams, a family of four can attend a game for around $63. Serving as a place for future Major League Baseball players to develop their talents and families to enjoy a cost‐effective sports entertainment experience, Minor League Baseball creates an intimate environment that allows fans and players to make meaningful connections in tightly knit communities across the United States.

Minor League Baseball has fans of all ages. Our sport appeals to the smallest rooters attending their first game to the grandparents holding their hands. From newborns to young adults to retirees, the game and the atmosphere of the
ballpark has something special for everyone.

Minor League Baseball is gender equal. With 48% of the total fans base being female, Minor League Baseball is the most gender balanced of all professional sports leagues.

Minor League Baseball gives back to its communities. In 2013, MiLB and its teams contributed approximately $26.6 million in cash, in‐kind and fundraising donations to deserving charities and groups. And speaking of communities, our ballparks are often second homes to the citizens of the communities in which they are located. Since 2000, Minor League Baseball has built an impressive 58 new ballparks.

Minor League Baseball is Americana. In small towns and metropolitan cities from coast to coast, you can find Minor League Baseball. It’s as much about the emotions it evokes, as it is about the game itself. It’s military appreciation nights, fireworks, families gathering together on a warm summer night to see the stars of tomorrow, mascots entertaining kids and adults from ages 1 to 101 and most of all, it’s about fun.

So, Dr. Emmert, there’s no denying that minor league sports are in fact immensely successful in regard to fan support and fan experience. And Minor League Baseball is thriving as an alternative to other more costly entertainment options. We have the thrills of a theme park, the emotions of a good movie, the element of surprise at a concert and the cuisine of your favorite restaurant, all wrapped up in one event and taking place in 70 ballparks on any given summer night.

Please accept this as an open invitation Dr. Emmert, join the American people and attend a Minor League Baseball game this summer. See for yourself just how much fan support we have and how the fan experience is like none other in the sports world. There’s something special going on at Minor League Baseball parks across this country and there’s never been a better time to be a part of it.

For more information please contact the Pelicans Front Office by calling (843) 918‐6077.