The Las Vegas 51s (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) will be moving to a new Summerlin ballpark in 2019, leaving the team’s long-time home, Cashman Field. So what will happen to the downtown facility? Its future lies in pro soccer.
At our sister site Soccer Stadium Digest, Jon Bruning interviewed Las Vegas Lights FC owner Brett Lashbrook about his team’s inaugural season in the USL. The Lights have been a success, averaging 8,175 fans per game — enough for fifth highest in the league — and Lashbrook seems fully committed to keeping the team at Cashman Field. From the Soccer Stadium Digest story:
This provides a great opportunity for Lights FC. Lashbrook said they’re not quite sure yet what improvements they may make. “You could tear down the right and left field walls and add 10,000 seats, you could build suites, you could build add a beer garden or add a dog park” – the opportunities are essentially limitless.
Vegas is in the midst of a building boom in sports facilities. In addition to Las Vegas Ballpark, the Raiders are also building a new $1.8-billion-dollar stadium to be shared with the UNLV football program. Las Vegas Stadium broke ground on 62 acres west of Mandalay Bay last fall and has a completion date of 2020.
Despite that, however, Lashbrook emphasized that the club has no interest in leaving Cashman Field and downtown Las Vegas. Because of its central city location, he call it a “hidden gem,” and “soccer’s version of Wrigley Field or Fenway Park.”
“We love downtown Las Vegas!” Lashbrook said. “Soccer stadiums work best in the urban core. It doesn’t work as well when you’re out in the suburbs surrounded by a big parking lot…. Before the game you want to drink and eat, after the game you want to drink and eat, and in our case, gamble and music and everything else, and we have that just a quarter mile away on Fremont Street.”
Images from April 27 home match by L.E. Baskow / Lights FC