Paying homage to Las Vegas legend and founder of the team’s corporate owner, the Howard Hughes Corporation today unveiled the new name of its Class AAA Pacific Coast League team: the Las Vegas Aviators.
Howard Hughes was a seminal figure in American aviation history, forming Hughes Aircraft Corp. in 1932 to develop high-speed aircraft, flying around the world in 1938 and setting a speed record in the process, and later launching Trans World Airlines. But he was also a driving force in American culture in terms of movie-studio ownership (RKO Pictures), movie productions, huge real-estate investments in Vegas and more. Summerlin, where the new Aviators ballpark is located, was planned out by the Hughes Corp. and named for Hughes’ grandmother, Jean Amelia Summerlin.
“Hughes’ vision and ambition were unmatched,” said David R. Weinreb, CEO of The Howard Hughes Corporation, in a press statement. “That, along with his imprint on Las Vegas where his legacy has helped shape the community for more than three decades, makes the decision to name the team in his honor an easy one. The Las Vegas Aviators is the perfect name for the city’s oldest professional sports team, one that is now launching an exciting new chapter with a brand-new stadium in Summerlin and a new major league affiliation.”
The Aviators name was chosen from hundreds of names submitted by the general public via a name-the-team competition. The team has played the last 18 season as the Las Vegas 51s, sporting an alien theme in reference to Area 51, and before that the team was the Las Vegas Stars.
“Everyone is excited about our new name,” said Don Logan, the team’s President and Chief Operating Officer, via press statement. “With new ownership, our impending move into the Las Vegas Ballpark and our new professional affiliation, this is the perfect time to rebrand the city’s beloved baseball team. The Aviators was a popular nomination from our fans, and it’s a fitting new moniker for the city’s first professional sports franchise as we start our next exciting chapter.”
It’s been a good offseason for the Aviators. The team signed a new affiliate deal with the Oakland Athletics and prepped for the opening of the new Las Vegas Ballpark in April. Logan, who has been with the team for 35 years, was named PCL Executive of the Year.
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