Exclusive: Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate in OKC drops iconic name and rebrands

Exclusive: Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate in OKC drops iconic name and rebrands

Oklahoma City’s minor-league baseball team remains the Triple-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers but is dropping the Dodgers name.

Jenni Carlson

By Jenni Carlson

| Dec 14, 2023, 10:00am CST

Jenni Carlson

By Jenni Carlson

Dec 14, 2023, 10:00am CST

The Oklahoma City Dodgers are no more.

Not in name anyway.

Oklahoma City’s minor-league baseball team remains the Triple-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers — and will remain so through at least 2030 — but the franchise has decided to transition away from the Dodgers name.

“The Dodgers brand, it’s incredible to have been aligned with it for the past nine seasons,” team president and general manager Michael Byrnes told Sellout Crowd. “Their brand is so strong, and there’s kind of that immediate connection. That’s had value.

“But we just felt like the time was right to get local again and just be really connected and have a brand that we control fully here in Oklahoma City.”

The rebranding process will unfold over two years.

The team’s new brand will roll out for the 2025 season with fresh everything. A new nickname. New logos. New uniforms. In the interim, the team will have what Byrnes called a temporary identity for the 2024 season: the Oklahoma City Baseball Club.

“We’ll have some new logos that are specific to next season, we’ll have new uniforms and we really intend to spend the season basically kind of celebrating the history of baseball in our community,” Byrnes said. “And then 2025 will become the future of baseball in our community.”

While the end goal is a new brand, Byrnes said next season’s temporary identity will give the team a chance to do some unique things to pay homage to professional baseball in Oklahoma City. For starters, the team will use a temporary logo featuring OKC in red and blue letters with an outline of the state of Oklahoma inside the O.

The team’s primary uniforms will change, too, but it will also wear some themed uniforms that celebrate yesterday. Last season, the team wore a 405-themed uniform once to celebrate the ballpark’s 25th anniversary; that uniform will be worn every Sunday next season.

The team will also do Throwback Thursdays.

“We’ll have an 89ers uniform set that we’ll wear on Thursdays,” Byrnes said of Oklahoma City’s minor-league team from 1962-97, “and then we’re going to tie in and try to find opportunities to tell the bigger history where we can celebrate the RedHawks and of course, the Dodgers just coming off a (Pacific Coast League) championship last year.”

The transition is already underway. The team store at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark opened today stocked with new merchandise. 

While the process of determining Oklahoma City’s new baseball brand is ongoing — the process of trademarking and licensing with Major League Baseball is extensive — Byrnes said the chance to link the Dodgers organization with a more Oklahoma City-centric brand is exciting.

“The Drillers up the road are a great example,” he said of Tulsa’s Double-A franchise that is also a Dodgers affiliate. “They’ve had their own distinctive personality. They’ve woven some of the Dodger elements into it but have remained the Drillers while they have that affiliation.

“So our fans, they’re still going to come out and see the high-level of talent that has come through here. They know they’re still going to see the James Outmans and the Walker Buehlers and Gavin Luxes, but they also have something that’s their own to cheer for.”

The Oklahoma City Baseball Club’s primary logo for the 2024 season. (Provided)

Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Brandon Gomes said in a statement, “Our Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City has been an incredible partner over the last nine seasons, and we look forward to continuing our relationship with them for many years to come.”

Byrnes said the Oklahoma City franchise’s ownership change in 2021 gave leadership a chance to evaluate the team’s brand. When the Dodgers moved their Triple-A affiliate to Oklahoma City in 2014, they partnered with Mandalay Baseball Properties to purchase the affiliate and branded it with the Dodgers brand. But two years ago, Diamond Baseball Holdings acquired the Oklahoma City franchise.

That created an opportunity to reevaluate everything, including branding.

Over the past year of doing focus groups and talking with community partners, Byrnes realized it was time for change.

“We became motivated to do this and create something that’s really of value to Oklahoma City,” he said.

“Ultimately what we will have as a final result is something that will be unique. There won’t be another minor-league baseball team that has the brand or a Major League Baseball team that has that brand. That part really allows us to be focused on the city.”

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Jenni Carlson is a columnist with the Sellout Crowd network. Follow her on Twitter at @JenniCarlson_OK. Email [email protected].

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