ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Minor League Baseball™ (MiLB™) announced today that the Lehigh Valley IronPigs of the Triple-A International League are the recipients of the 54th annual Larry MacPhail Award, symbolizing the top promotional effort in Minor League Baseball.
The award has been presented since 1966 and is named after Hall of Famer Leland Stanford "Larry" MacPhail, Sr., who introduced innovations such as night baseball, airplane travel, pension plans and batting helmets. The IronPigs will receive their award at the Baseball Winter Meetings Banquet on Sunday, Dec. 8, at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront in San Diego. The IronPigs are the first International League team to win the award since 1997.
"Our entire organization has worked hard for 12 seasons to make sure fans have an unforgettable experience each night when they visit Coca-Cola Park," said IronPigs President and General Manager Kurt Landes. "Receiving this award is the pinnacle of our efforts and is a genuine tribute to our fans, whom we consider to be the gold standard within Minor League Baseball. Our industry is filled with some of the most creative, unique and innovative minds in the country, so to be singled out from so many other teams is extremely humbling."
The IronPigs have long been one of Minor League Baseball's top promotional organizations, having won five Golden Bobblehead Awards for their promotions, more than any other Minor League Baseball team. Those Golden Bobblehead Awards include: Best Non-Gameday Event (2011), Best In-Game Promotion (2013), Best Theme Night (2016), Best Digital Campaign (2018) and Best Overall Promotion or Event (2018).
In the IronPigs' 70 home games in 2019, the team held 35 promotional theme nights, hosted 33 games with promotional giveaways, gave away 88,000 items at the gates, hosted 12 VIP appearances and entertainment acts, and executed 23 fireworks shows (15 of which were themed). They increased theme ticket packages by more than 300% and game-worn cap and jersey auctions by over 150%. Highlighting 2019, the IronPigs uniquely marketed "Jawn" and "IronPugs" as two new special identities for the team. The localized slang term "jawn" is relevant to the eastern Pennsylvania communities, while "IronPugs", a planned typo, became a fully-embraced promotion. Both identities brought with them spikes in attendance and merchandise sales.
"Few teams across Minor League Baseball consistently produce high-quality promotions as well as the Lehigh Valley IronPigs," said Minor League Baseball President & CEO Pat O'Conner. "Year after year, the IronPigs host remarkable promotions and campaigns that capture the imagination and attention of fans both locally and nationwide. On behalf of Minor League Baseball, I congratulate them on this honor."