Monarchs name returns to KC, with NLBM aid

American Association team rebrands with Negro Leagues moniker

January 21st, 2021

The Kansas City T-Bones of the independent American Association announced Thursday they will now be known as the Monarchs, named after the same team that dominated the Negro Leagues from 1920-61.

The rebranding of the franchise is the result of an unprecedented collaboration with the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, creating a sustainable, long-term revenue stream for the NLBM, a not-for-profit organization. The deal includes cross-promotion via a satellite Negro Leagues Baseball exhibit at the team's stadium, which has been newly dubbed Field of Legends.

It will eventually be a part of a travelling exhibit that will accompany the team to ballparks around the country. The team also has plans to establish The Monarchs Youth Academy with a mission to enrich the lives of Kansas City urban youth through baseball and softball.

The announcement was made during a press conference at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, with NLBM president Bob Kendrick, Monarchs owner Mark Brandmeyer, city officials and other dignitaries, such as Royals Hall of Famer Frank White, in attendance.

“It’s a tremendous nod to what the Kansas City Monarchs represented as it relates to the heritage of our game in our great city,” Kendrick said. “That name resonates with many who understand the history of the game.”

The club was looking for a name change for several months and worked with longtime fans, brand agencies and league officials to help come up with a new name. Monarchs quickly emerged as the favorite and most inspiring option. The NLBM and Brandmeyer’s MaxFun Entertainment, LLC, have signed a long-term licensing agreement that will allow for use of the Monarchs name.

“The Monarchs is a brand that is near and dear to our hearts. We are very protective of it,” Kendrick said. “But the more we had the conversations and the more we saw the business plan, the more this [became a reality]. It led us to this point today where we announce this rebranding.”

Fans can visit the NLBM on East 18th Street, between Vine and Highland, just across from the Gem Theater in Kansas City. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be limited hours (11 a.m. to 4 p.m. CT Tuesday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. Sunday) and increased sanitizing every day, and occupancy will be limited to 150 to 200 people at a time.

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is a privately funded, non-profit organization; annually renewing memberships to support the museum are available ranging from $25 to $1,000. Membership includes free admission for the year, a 10% percent discount on merchandise from the NLBM Extra Inning Store and advance information on special events. Members also receive a gift and additional benefits at each level of support.