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EXCLUSIVE: All 120 MiLB Teams to Wear Oatly-Themed Uniform in 2024

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I received an email a few days ago from Uni Watch reader Holden Chase, as follows:

Have you heard anything about a league wide deal MLB has put together for MiLB? Apparently the deal is with an oat milk company — I believe it’s Oatly — where every MiLB team will be wearing a jersey fully sponsored by the company.

This was all news to me, so I asked Holden how he’d heard about it. He said his father, a former longtime MiLB team exec, had heard it while chatting with some former colleagues.

Since then, I’ve spoken with Holden’s father, Dave Chase (you can see his longtime baseball pedigree on his LinkedIn page), and also to another source who prefers to remain anonymous. Based on my discussions with them, here’s what I’ve been able to piece together:

  • MLB, which runs MiLB, has struck a deal for all 120 minor league teams to wear an Oatly-themed uniform for one game this season. (Oatly inked a multi-year partnership with MiLB last year, so that relationship was already established.) This won’t be just an Oatly ad patch — it will be a full Oatly-themed uniform. Same design for every team. Again, every MiLB team will wear it at some point this summer.
  • Neither of my sources has seen the uniform design yet.
  • This is not an optional promotion for the teams — they’re required to participate.
  • The Oatly uniforms will appear within a specified time range — “a couple of weeks, I think in June,” said one of my sources.
  • Teams wearing this uniform will be known for one day as — get this — the Malmö Oat Milkers. (Malmö is the Swedish city where Oatly is headquartered.) It’s not clear to me if the umlaut will be included.
  • The idea behind all of this is apparently that Oatly looked at all the food-based MiLB one-offs (the Fresno Tacos, the Aberdeen Steamed Crabs, etc.) and said, “Hey, we can get in on that!” But as both of my sources noted, the food-based one-offs are based on each team’s local culture, while the Oatly promotion has no local ties at all.
  • The MiLB teams will not get any revenue from this deal. Under their current arrangement with MLB, they no longer have to pay certain league fees that they used to pay; the trade-off is that MLB sometimes makes them do stuff like this and pockets the cash.

I emailed Oatly’s press department yesterday. They did not respond to my request for comment.

To me, this sounds a lot like MLB’s TATC promotion from 1999. As you may recall, that was based on a fun one-off promotion by the Mariners in 1998, which was deemed so successful that MLB decided to co-opt it into a league-wide promotion the following year (complete with a corporate advertiser, Century 21, which is why the futuristic uniforms were supposedly based on the year 2021). In this case, MiLB’s fun food-based one-offs are being co-opted into an league-wide uni-driven ad campaign.

I fear that the results for this promotion will be as bad as what we saw in 1999. Fortunately, though, the stakes here are lower. Let’s just hope MLB never tries to institute something like this at the big league level.

Update: The uniforms for this promotion have now leaked.




Hockey/Cycling Jersey Reminder

In case you missed it on Monday, our old Uni Watch hockey and cycling jerseys are available again (with your choice of numbers and NOBs!), but only through the end of this week. You can order yours here. Enjoy!



ITEM! Uni Watch Soccer Jerseys Now Available Too!

After I announced yesterday that the hockey and cycling jerseys were briefly being revived, a few people asked about our soccer jerseys. So I got in touch with Austin Chen of Equipt, who produced those jerseys back in 2022, and he’s agreed to make them available again.

They’re available here. Just like with the hockey and cycling designs, you can choose your desired number and NOB, but only through the end of this week, so move fast!




Mascot Watch

One in the foreground, one in the background.



Can of the Day

So much wonderful stuff going on here: the lettering, the arrows, “DanDee,” “Hylo-ized.” Plus it’s rare to see a design from this era going all va-va-voom with the sex-appeal approach. Magnificent!

Comments (51)

    I really had to check the date and make sure it wasn’t April 1st when I saw the headline.
    This absolutely fails the “Is this good or stupid” test.

    The day MLB took over MiLB was a dark, dark day. And to think Rob Manfred has 5 more years to further make a joke of the game…

    It’s truly remarkable how Manfred has managed to so completely claim the title of “worst commissioner of the modern era” despite his predecessor literally being Bud Selig

    I was thinking the other day “man, if only baseball could go back to… wait, Selig?!?”

    The only thing that keeps Rob Manfred from being the worst commissioner in the history of MLB is the color line. And if he thought it would make him some money, he’d bring that back, too.

    I suppose the idea that they are going to try to make it like the food promotions means it could at least be an interesting uniform, and not just the teams’ regular uniforms with giant oat milk ad overlays.
    It is pretty crazy that the existing MLB/MiLB arrangement just lets MLB force all the minors’ teams into something like this, and they get zero revenue from it.
    Hopefully the individual teams have some say in the design process and can have some fun with it.

    Just to be clear: It will not be 120 different Oatly-themed uniform designs. It will be *one* Oatly-themed uni design that all 120 teams will wear. One size fits all. Teams have no say in it.

    Sure, why not? Why waste your time with a measly sleeve patch when you can just have the entire uniform? Brilliant.

    Not sure how seriously your comment was meant to be taken, but I’m pretty confident 99% (if not more) of the Swedish population has no idea this is even happening.

    It’s not about what Sweden things. It’s about what the Uni-verse thinks.

    This is going to be a stir for community around the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. Promoting Oat Milk during June Dairy Month? That’s blasphemy.
    Hopefully they don’t try to rebrand them as the Oat Udder Tuggers.

    Yep, milk comes from cows and other animals. It does not come from oats or almonds.

    Costco knows that soymilk does not come from cows (nor any mammals) but they also know that lawyers like to file lawsuits, whether the cases have merit or not, so they just changed their label to something like non-dairy soy drink or beverage instead. Soymilk drinkers will still buy it, non-soymilk drinkers can make their own choice, and lawyers get zero dollars. Win-win-win.

    ”Oatly” on a jersey? More like “Cringy,” amirite?

    Weird of you to be 26 days early on your April Fool’s post.

    (yes, I know someone already beat me to the April Fool’s comment. Still worth re-iterating.)

    The more I think about this, the more true it seems that this is a prank that was leaked. I know that MLB exerts total control over MiLB, but what is the audience for this? If I’m the GM of a team forced to wear a uniform or engage in a rebrand that does nothing too strengthen the bond with my community or drive revenue for my organization, I would engage as minimally as possible. Wear the normal team game cap with the top, not engage with the one-game nickname (on scoreboard or broadcasts/PA), not surrender video board inventory to Oatly, etc. Every minor pro hockey/baseball/soccer/etc. team has league-sold inventory and teams plan for that, but foisting a league-wide identity is patently ridiculous. Not to mention that there would be a minimal local market for the purchase or auction of these game-used jerseys, unless they’re passing them onto the next team that’s supposed to wear them. Who would buy these?

    Just my thoughts. I have not yet seen anything referencing this on my local MiLB team’s promotions calendar. I think this is a joke that was spoiled.

    I do not disagree with anything you are saying, but I would like to point out that the entire NBA development league is called the Gatorade league. So, you know, it could, and probably will get worse when ultimately these two ideas are combined. I’m thinking the “oatlygue, sponsored by oatly” with conferences/divisions/etc named after flavors of oatly brand oat milk. One season we’ll be wondering why there’s a new churro conference, and BADABOOM, oatly drops the bomb: they now offer churro flavored oat milk! Could our lives get any better?!

    This dystopian future brought to you by Silk almond milk: “we don’t stick our milk in your baseball, please don’t stick your balls in our almond milk”

    If there was a Uni Watch baseball jersey, I’d buy it! (Or if the old Brooklyn Branches set was revived!)

    I’m sure there’s not a huge contingent of MiLB game attenders here on the site, but the one thing we can do is boycott that game in each city.

    For that game, don’t go. Tell your friends not to go. Don’t buy any of the merch. We have to make this promotion a negative impact on their revenue

    Maybe I’m being pessimistic, but it feels like this is a test run for doing things like this at the MLB level for some League Theme Weekend in the future.

    I already don’t go to MiLB games.
    I grew tired of all the other wacky promotions and the awful uniforms that come with them. I know they’re trying to get more people in the stands, but they seem to be catering to people who don’t know or care about baseball at the expense of people who actually are there to see a game. If they think this is the only way for baseball to survive, then it’s time to take it off life support and see if it can breathe on its own. If not, pull the sheet over it and call the time of death.

    I agree.

    I’d rather hear the ping of an aluminum bat than watch the terrible Minor League and Manfred League uniforms.

    I have a similar feel for MiLB. So turned off by all the juvenile, embarrassing team names. Yeah, I know it’s a strange reason. But can’t get into some team named “Garbage Pandas” or whatever. And by the way, keep off my lawn.

    Good Lord, man, Rob Manfred is a cancer. An absolute nightmare of a commissioner and leader. He’s shoddy, late-stage capitalism in the form of a cigar-chomping man-child who is determined the run anything fun out of baseball in the name of profit.

    Mafia Manfred strikes again.

    Sorry, Paul, but I’m a little offended by the phrase “the stakes are lower”, although I know what you mean. It’s Rob Manfred, head of a crime syndicate wielding his monopoly power over 120 unwilling participants, forcing them to do something that absolutely none of them want to do and making them do it with a smile on their face.

    There are so many thoughts going through my head about that imbecile, so many suggestions I’d like to make, some funny, some born out of my absolute hatred for that man, but none of which I can type publicly knowing that they’d never make it past your approval and into the public forum.

    Love Dan Dee chips, a Cleveland classic. My great aunt worked at the factory in Cleveland for her entire career and was a proud union member there. She always used to give union apparel to my dad, too.

    I’ve never understood why MILB teams change their name and identity for one game. I understand the “fun promotion” aspect of it, but some of these teams have been around for a long time and are a part of the fabric of the community. Where I grew up in Toledo, OH, the Toledo Mud Hens are iconic, and in fact “world famous” because of Jamie Farr and M.A.S.H. (Well, to a certain demographic anyway). I’m 51 and the Mud Hens have been around since before I was born. Changing the entire team identity, even for one game, just doesn’t make any sense. Now that they are being FORCED to do it and make nothing from it is just beyond ridiculous.

    What if there was a well know business in your town, something that’s been around for generations and everyone identifies with. What if that business went by a completely different name for one or two days a year? What if you were the owner of that business and were being forced to change the name of it for a day and receive no compensation for doing so. It doesn’t even seem legal.

    Is there a way the owners or players union can stand up and call “B.S” on this garbage?


    In this instance all 120 teams have to grin and bear it. Any team that protests runs the risk of losing their franchise and having their multi-million dollar investment become worthless.

    This could happen in no other place in American society, but Major League Baseball holds this ridiculously outdated and unfair antitrust exemption that gives them monopolistic power and allows them to do whatever they want to do without recourse.

    Rob Manfred wields that power like the head of a Mafia syndicate. Seriously. He could literally eliminate your team with the snap of a finger. I’m not kidding.

    Look what he did to 42 minor league franchises three years ago. He just eliminated them Teams that were worth a minimum of $4 million dollars, some in excess of $20 million dollars gone *poof* because Rob Manfred and the Majorligo Crime Family wanted it that way.

    He took over every league. Your favorite minor league exists now in name only. There is no International League anymore. There’s no Pacific Coast League. Or Southern League. Or Texas League, Or South Atlantic League. Those that remain exist only as subsidiaries of and under the complete control and direction of Major League Baseball,

    Don Manfred and his cosa nostra henchmen literally walked right in to every single league and said “we’re in charge now”, shut down the leagues, made them all fall under his direct control, and every single one of the 120 teams that still stands runs the risk of being eliminated in an instant when the current contract comes up for renewal.

    I am not exaggerating.

    There are no longer minor leagues to protect against the beast that is Major League Baseball. There is no longer the National Association (the former governing body of those minor leagues) to protect against Major League Baseball. And your local minor league team no longer has a franchise (formerly an asset worth tens of millions of dollars). Your minor league team holds only an operating agreement that expires in 2029, which can be discontinued for any reason that MLB sees fit. If Manfred’s college roommate or his brother-in-law wants his own team in another town for example, Manfred can shut down your team and give a team o whomever he wants. It’s that simple.

    Any team that stands up and calls bullshit on the MLB runs the risk of being eliminated, akin to finding its remains floating in the proverbial river.

    I am not exaggerating.

    Major League Baseball must be stopped. And the only way this happens is if Congress takes away MLB’s Antitrust exemption.

    Please. Regardless of your political leanings, talk to your Congressman.

    To your question of the voluntary identity changes: sometimes it’s just a merch sideline, and in rarer circumstances it’s also a legit test of a team name change (best example on that front being the Staten Island Pizza Rats). And I’m a bit more forgiving about merch being a driver for minor league teams since the margins are so much smaller, especially given there aren’t multi-billion-dollar TV deals involved.

    But there are already largely *involuntary* alt-identities, between Copa de la Diversión (which can range from really thoughtful ways to engage the Latino community — that’s how the whole Fresno Tacos thing began, with a different taco truck at each game — to banal, cynical merch-dumps — looking at you, “Brooklyn Jefes”) and “Defenders of the Diamond” (which is just a Marvel cash-grab).

    And I think ultimately it means that the branding gets exceptionally muddled, and frankly so does the merch.

    Obviously a test run for the Major Leagues. 161 games a team will play with its own identity, one game as the Geico Geckos. And after that other companies will get in on what Manfred thinks is fun.

    Eh, maybe. We don’t see MLB teams doing food-based one-offs or wearing lederhosen for German Heritage Night. Lots of things happen in the minors that don’t happen in the majors.

    While it might be apples and oranges, to me having every MILB team wear the same uniform over the course of a couple weeks is the same wrongheaded thinking that led to every MLB team wearing pink for Mother’s Day and blue for Father’s day and having league specific All Star Game jerseys. Manfred views the league as a brand at the expense of individual teams having identities.

    It’s stupid and gross.

    Some future hall of famer is going to have their best minor league moment on that particular day (hits for the cycle, throws a no hitter, makes the play of the century) and watching the footage 30 years from now we will have to explain what in the world was going on.

    Did no one else notice the M&M Christmas lights in the mascot photo…??? Or was that discussed over the last year or so when my laptop could not load the Uni Watch page?

    The Oatly headline had so much of an April Fool’s vibe, I had to check the calender on my computer to make sure I hadn’t fallen into a coma.

    I like Oatly and even I can’t get behind this. And frankly I don’t know how this is going to end up as good PR for them, for MiLB collectively, and for the teams individually.

    It’s making me crave a glass of Planet Oat milk. Or a homemade version.

    Anything but Oatly.

    MLB pushing a product that really isn’t all that it is advertised as and according to nutritionists – not as healthy as the real thing or other alternatives. But hey- they want to push carbs and bloated stomachs, who am I to care.

    What would keep 100+ advertisers from doing the same thing and having MiLB wear a different advertisers uniform every scheduled game they play during a season?

    This whole thing is a farce and Manfred needs to go.

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