Amarillo Sod Poodles named Organization of the Year

Minor League Baseball announced the 2023 winners of the Organization of the Year Award, Executive of the Year Award, Future Star Award and the CommUNITY Champion Award. Nominees from each league were selected by their peers and were candidates for the overall awards.

ORGANIZATION OF THE YEAR -- Amarillo Sod Poodles (Double-A Affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks)

Since their inception in 2019, the Amarillo Sod Poodles have been one of the most successful organizations in Minor League Baseball on and off the field.

With a beautiful ballpark, HODGETOWN, that helped revitalize downtown Amarillo and a second league championship in 2023, the Sod Poodles have been a huge hit in the Texas Panhandle, confirming the beliefs of the club’s owners, The Elmore Sports Group, that Amarillo is still a baseball town despite not having an affiliated team from 1982-2018.

The Sod Poodles aim to create an entertaining experience for each fan that enters the ballpark to create lifelong memories and they strive to provide an atmosphere that welcomes everyone to the ballpark, from first-time fans to die hard supporters. Those goals helped the team record 31 sellouts in 2023, and despite being one of the smallest markets in the Texas League, they led in attendance each of the last three years while setting a franchise single-game record on July 3, drawing 7,588 fans.

The club also saw a 12.3 percent increase in overall business from 2022 (includes ticket, food and beverage and merchandise sales). The Sod Poodles’ marketing team worked to elevate the level of its marketing and social media efforts in 2023, gaining more than 6,000 followers on Instagram and 5,000 followers on Facebook.

In 2023, the Sod Poodles created an alternate identity, the Calf Fries, which was wildly popular not only in Texas but around the globe as Calf Fries merchandise was shipped to 44 states, Canada, Mexico, the Cayman Islands and parts of Europe. The HODGETOWN concession stands served Calf Fries on nights when the team used the alternate jerseys and sold out of over 400 pounds of the delicacy at each of those games.

The Sod Poodles have also made their presence known in the Amarillo community by partnering with several local organizations to support important causes. They implemented a charity spotlight, which showcased different non-profit organizations at the ballpark and allowed 23 organizations to increase their brand awareness locally through the opportunity to throw out a first pitch, participate in both a radio and on-field interview and set up a marketing table on the concourse of the stadium. Additionally, the Sod Poodles’ front office staff volunteered for over 200 hours during the 2023 season.

Showing they are more than just a baseball team, following a devastating June tornado that demolished much of nearby Perryton, Texas, the Sod Poodles organization hosted a jersey auction and other fundraisers at a home game to generate a donation of over $38,000 to the Panhandle Disaster Relief Fund. For the year, more than $250,000 was put back into the Amarillo community through various Sod Poodles charity initiatives.

“I could not be prouder of our team for winning Minor League Baseball’s Organization of the Year Award,” said Sod Poodles President and General Manager Tony Ensor. “This award represents all the collective passion and hard work that goes into creating what we think is the best experience in baseball. And it recognizes everyone from our full-time and seasonal staffs, players and coaches, community partners, the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Elmore Sports Group and the most important part of our team, the Amarillo community. This is a very proud day for everyone associated with our organization.”

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