Night Light | Bananas Going Bananas

The Savannah Bananas Have Gone Bananas

This week we’re going bananas. It’s crazy to me how popular the Savannah Bananas have become over the last few years. They’re becoming the Harlem Globetrotters of baseball.

Could watch this all day.

I was curious how much tickets were going for so I went to their website and was pleasantly surprised to find out that all of the tickets for the 2024 season were already sold-out. I could only join a waitlist (based on a lottery) or get advice on how to score tickets for the 2025 season. They were also advertising something called Bananaland at Sea which looks like a 4 day cruise that kicks off with a game against the Party Animals in the Marlin’s stadium. Clearly this thing has gotten a lot bigger than when I was watching their crazy TikTok clips in 2022. Bananamania is real.

How did this happen?

I found it interesting that the Savannah Bananas were actually part of a summer collegiate league but left to play Banana Ball in 2022. I haven’t personally watched a major league baseball game in a long, long time, but I can understand the appeal of a Bananas game; they focus more on the entertainment aspect than on the tradition of baseball.

Nanners on top.

It’s hard not to talk about how much social media has had an impact on the Savannah Bananas. Right now, their TikTok account has 8.4M followers. That’s nearly 8X the size of the biggest MLB account (Yankees at 1.2M). The game makes for a lot of moments that are clippable, culturally relevant, and they’re constantly writing new storylines into their games. I’m not surprised that 550,000 people are on the wait list to get tickets this year. If you ask me, it all comes down to how well they’ve served fans in the last few years.

Why should you care?

Last month they sold out the Astro’s stadium. 41,000 fans filled the seats, to put it in perspective, the average attendance of an Astros game was 37,000 in 2023. Not only are they selling out more seats, the resale price of tickets is also much higher for a Bananas game than MLB teams. If I wanted a general admission ticket for a June game in Savannah, I’m looking at $200 on StubHub. I can get a ticket to the Rays vs. Red Sox (upper section on the 3rd base line) for $46. This year they announced their world tour and have been consistently selling out 15K seats.

How this impacts all sports.

It’s crazy what a team based out of Savannah has been able to accomplish over the last 8 years. Without significant ad spending (the stadium is even ad free) they've leaned into social media, created a fun experience, and completely changed the rules of "America's pastime". While the Harlem Globetrotters may have been the pioneers, I don’t think this is the last time we’ll see a similar business model.

Jesse Cole, LinkedIn

I found it interesting that last year, 11 players on the Bananas were drafted and signed by MLB teams. We’re seeing an increasing amount of leagues and development programs (G League, UFL, LIV to name a few), and I think this trend continues over the next few years. They also own their second team “Party Animals”, right now in most of the games they’re playing each other, but there’s definitely an opportunity to introduce more teams into the league.

The big takeaway:

Good luck getting Savannah Banana tickets. 41K people packed the Astros stadium to watch the boys play ball, and you can even book a cruise where you’ll be surrounded by other Banana fans (If the Phillies tried this, they’d have to call in the National Guard). I think we’re going to see alternative/development leagues continue to do well in the upcoming year.

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