The New York Yankees have been named the 2012 MLB “Club Retailer of the Year” by Major League Baseball Properties for the Club’s commitment to driving merchandise sales. The Yankees and Legends Hospitality, led by Legends' GM of Retail, Michael Loparo, earned the honor based on significant improvements to the Yankee Stadium clubhouse store as well as consistent product innovation and reinvention.
Since its inception in 2005, the MLB “Club Retailer of the Year” Award has been awarded based on a combination of sales, vendor/customer feedback and creative marketing and merchandising efforts. In 2012, the Yankees focused on advancing the retail experience of their fans and customer base. A New Era Tajima embroidery machine was added to the Great Hall at Yankee Stadium to offer fans a personalized experience, resulting in increased interest in headwear. The team store was completely redesigned, including a restructuring of the floor plan to create a streamlined approach for the customer. Additionally, the Yankees worked with Major League Baseball and Astroturf to place Astroturf in the store to feature the Authentic Collection On-field Areas. The club continues to boost the presence of MLB licensed products in the team store and challenges each to create fixtures and signage in-line with both the Yankee brand and their individual brands, providing excellent exposure for all.
In addition to new store layout and operational progression, the Yankees and Legends Hospitality worked with Major League Baseball’s design services department to create new graphics for three key locations to add dimension and consistent branding. The graphics bring an interactive element to the fan with customization and personalization of jerseys, bats, hats and photos. Other areas of innovation and development are the addition of the MLB and Victoria’s Secret PINK co-branded line and a Yankees Knievel Motorcycle in front of the store.
“The demand among fans for Yankees merchandise and other licensed products is always strong given the iconic nature of the team and their brand, but the Yankees deserve special praise for not resting on their laurels and continuing to innovate and provide creative new ways for fans to express their team pride,” said Howard Smith, Senior Vice President, Licensing, Major League Baseball. “The clubhouse store at Yankee Stadium has evolved considerably just in the four years since the new ballpark opened. Mike Loparo and the Yankees are especially deserving of this honor.”
“This honor is a great compliment to the talented people we have working at Legends Hospitality,” said Yankees Chief Operating Officer Lonn Trost. “The Yankees and Legends Hospitality have always tried to provide fans with products that reflect a variety of tastes while remaining respectful of Yankees tradition. We appreciate the recognition and look forward to building on our success by continuing to provide the best possible products and experience at Yankee Stadium.”
"We are extremely honored to be recognized by Major League Baseball," said Dan Smith, President, Legends Hospitality. "Mike Loparo and his team work with great passion to develop new and original retail offerings that complement the culture and enthusiasm of the Yankees and their fan base. We are fortunate to be able to work closely with the Yankees in developing these innovations and share their unmatched devotion to delivering an unsurpassed customer service experience for their fans each and every time they come to the ballpark."
Previous recipients of the award have included the Seattle Mariners in 2005, New York Mets in 2006, Philadelphia Phillies in 2007, Milwaukee Brewers in 2008, Cincinnati Reds in 2010 and Detroit Tigers in 2011.