Don't Expect Star Wars Night For 2021 Minor League Opening Day On May 4th
When the 2021 minor league baseball schedule was announced with an Opening Day of May 4, knowing baseball fans chuckled.
It seemed to be an intentional scheduling quirk to ring in minor league baseball with one of the bigger promotions of the year.
May the Fourth has become May The Fourth Be With You all around the minor leagues, as teams have found a Star Wars-themed game with special uniforms, Star Wars characters roaming the concourses and a variety of other Star Wars’ touches that have consistently brought fans flocking to the stadium. A number of Major League Baseball teams have also adopted Star Wars Night as well.
In 2021, the force will not be around on the fourth.
Lucasfilms has told minor league and major league teams that its licensing program for baseball theme nights is currently on hold. Lucasfilms may revisit the decision later this summer, but given the lead time needed to purchase uniforms, hire Star Wars characters and do the many other touches needed for a successful Star Wars night, the decision makes it less likely there will be any Star Wars nights around the minors in 2021.
This decision has nothing to do with MLB’s takeover of governance of the minor leagues, as the decision was one made by Lucasfilms.
From Lucasfilms’ perspective, the decision appears to be one based on concerns about ensuring safety during an ongoing coronavirus pandemic. It’s a pause, but Star Wars nights will likely return in the future.
A separate MLB decision could cut down on the number of specialty uniforms/caps in 2021. MLB sent a memo to minor league teams telling them that while they can use any alternate identity caps they had already purchased and have been approved under the old system, no new caps will be approved for 2021, as MLB is setting up a new alternate brand process that appears to be more involved than the previous process.
Promotional jerseys that are different from a team’s standard uniform are still permitted, as long as teams submit them for approval well before the time they are unveiled.
For teams that weren’t confident that they were even going to be around in 2021, doing the work of getting a new alternate identity cap applied for and approved in 2020 seemed like a risky proposition, so it does mean that there will likely be less one-day rebrands around the minors in 2021.