Several teams — new and rebranded — are adopting an aeronautical theme for the upcoming season, including the Lafayette Aviators and the DuPage Drones (summer collegiate; Prospect League) and the Texas AirHogs (independent; American Association).
At Loeb Stadium, it’s the Lafayette Aviators, as MKE Sports and Entertainment carries the name from Rockford to Lafayette. The team name was chosen by MKE; the logo was chosen by fans.
“After naming the team we set out on a path to once again give the fans the right to put a stamp on this team as their own. With that, they chose from three logos we believe all represented the community in different ways. The fans chose the Aviator as our primary logo and we couldn’t be prouder to move forward with that as our representation not only in this community but others as well.” said Mike Zimmerman, CEO and owner of the Lafayette Aviators. Zimmerman is also the owner of MKE Sports and Entertainment, LLC, the operating entity of the Aviators.
“With the announcement of today’s final design choice for the Aviators team logo, it is thrilling to see the complete brand and see the making of the new Prospect League team for Lafayette become a reality. Thank you to the community for your support and help in making this franchise development a true team effort. We are looking forward to future baseball progress announcements and can’t wait to see everyone on opening day at Loeb Stadium in June 2016.” said Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski.
The Lafayette Aviators will kick off their season on June 1, 2016 when the team makes its home debut at Loeb Stadium against the DuPage Drones.
In DuPage County, we have another run at summer-collegiate ball, this time with a Prospect League team at Benedictine University Sport Complex: the DuPage Drones, a choice after a name-the-team contest.
“This is obviously a unique name which was something I was hoping for to come out of this contest,” said CEO/owner Josh Schaub. “Our older fans may scratch their head wondering about Drones as a name, but if you ask parents of young kids, you will surely be aware of the Drone’s status as a viral sensation as a family recreational device. The exciting part is that I believe we may be one of the very few teams in the country really grabbing onto something technological to represent the community. This is likely a trend that you’ll see in years to come as the younger generation interacts with technology on a daily basis.”
The DuPage Drones will kick off their season and debut in the Prospect League on May 28. The front office is set: Mitch Kukay and Evan Gersonde are the co-General Managers. Kukay comes into this role after serving within Corporate Partnerships for MKE Sports & Entertainment. Prior to MKE Sports & Entertainment, Mitch worked for the Minnesota Twins, University of Minnesota Athletic Department, and the Green Bay Bullfrogs. Mitch has a degree in Sport Management from the University of Minnesota and is originally from Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Evan Gersonde comes to the Drones from Minnesota-based APi. Before working at APi, Evan worked for the Minnesota Twins in the Corporate Partnerships Department, specializing sponsorship activation throughout the season. Further experience includes work in entertainment for the St. Paul Saints and Gopher Sports Marketing. Evan has a degree in Sport Management from the University of Minnesota and is originally from Hubertus, Wisconsin.
Finally, we have the Texas AirHogs in the independent American Association for 2016. The AirHogs name should be familiar — it’s the name of the Grand Prairie team in the circuit — and the name is extended to the team playing both out of Grand Prairie and Amarillo, as the Thunderheads are no more. (Not to say they could not return: Southern Independent Baseball owns both teams.)