When it comes to increasing the profile of a team, one of the most visual ways of doing this is to adopt a mascot and create some merchandise around it. For some of the biggest teams in the world, the mascot and the mini-industry that can develop around it have become a great source of additional income as well as a lot of fun.
In the US, many teams have official mascots who are often represented on the pitch before matches by a willing person dressed up as the character. The idea behind the mascot was first known back in 1908 when a taxidermy mount was made for the Chicago Cubs while in 1916, a real live animal was used.
The mascot is now such an ingrained part of sports teams that there is even a Mascot Hall of Fame. This was founded by David Raymond, the original Phillie Phanatic from 1978 to 1993 and was originally an online celebration of the mascots. In 2014, a physical hall was started in Whiting, Indiana to continue the traditions, so popular has it become. Each year, mascots are elected to the Hall of Fame by voting membership and an executive committee made up from performers, sports executives and others in the community, added to a public vote.
Most popular mascots
According to a list compiled by Forbes the current most popular mascot in the US is Mr Met, the veteran mascot of the New York Mets who has actually taken on a greater role while the team has been going through troubled times.
Second place is the Phillie Phanatic who has been mascot to the Philadelphia Phillies for thirty-four years and his known for his ballpark antics to keep the crowd entertained pre-match.
Benny the Bull of the Chicago Bulls is so popular that in addition to his game commitments, he does around 250 other engagements every year.
While the San Diego Chicken no longer has any association with the San Diego Padres, he still ranks number four on the list. He is often seen as the first mascot to become a household name and the forerunner of those above him on the list.
The Red Sox were late getting involved with the mascot idea but when they did, Wally the Green Monster became an instant hit, especially with the kids.
Number six on the list might win for the most unconventional – the Racing Sausages of the Milwaukee Brewers. Each game sees a race between the five giant sausages; Italian, Polish, bratwurst, hot dog and chorizo, complete with his sombrero.
The Gorilla of the Phoenix Suns has made himself a successful career in TV commercials and even in the NBA Jam video game as well as his appearance at the games. He is known for his super athletic, trampoline bouncing antics.
Number eight on the list is also amongst the most hard working. Billy the Marlin of the Miami Marlins has around 400 appearances every year.
The Coyote is known for his slam-dunking as well as for irritating referees during time outs at the San Antonio Spurs games.
Rocky of the Denver Nuggets is another all-action mascot, a big cat who entertains the crowds with his half court shots and high flying dunks. Perhaps the big cat has his own cat at home and needs a new litterbox from http://www.thebestcatlitterbox.com.
A good mascot can take on a life of their own with good merchandising and a good strong character. Anything that can attract attention to the club can help increase popularity and revenue and is a vital part of building up a successful league.