Next week, the newly minted Las Vegas Aviators (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) will begin a new chapter with the opening of Las Vegas Ballpark in Downtown Summerlin.
The Las Vegas franchise–formerly the 51s, before announcing a rebrand to the Aviators in December–had spent years working to replace Cashman Field in downtown Las Vegas. That push will culminate in the opening of Las Vegas Ballpark, a $150 million facility that will feature several distinct amenities–including a pool beyond the outfield wall, concessions with an emphasis on local fare, a videoboard that comes in at 3,930 square feet (the largest Daktronics has installed in the minor leagues), and more.
The Aviators will begin the regular season on the road, before christening Las Vegas Ballpark with their home opener against the Sacramento River Cats on April 9. However, ahead of the opening, Aviators and team president and chief operations officer Don Logan are hyping the facility and the amenities it will offer. More from the Las Vegas Sun:
Logan, the club’s president and chief operating officer, labels the $150 million, 10,000-seat facility as the best minor-league setup he’s seen in three decades in the industry. “This is like a major-league stadium,” he says.
Funding new construction, whether it be upgrades to outdated Cashman Field or a new build, always represented a significant hurdle. But in 2013, Summerlin developer the Howard Hughes Corp. was part of a group that purchased the team, essentially starting its plan to move out of Downtown. The effort was assisted by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority providing $80 million over 20 years for the ballpark’s naming rights.
Logan is constantly giving tours to colleagues and residents ahead of the April 9 opener against Sacramento. He says the response has been almost uniform. “They’re like, ‘Wow, you pulled it off,’ ” Logan says. “This is so far an upgrade from what existed in this market that people are just awestruck.”
Las Vegas Ballpark is one of three new ballparks opening in affiliated Minor League Baseball this season. The Amarillo Sod Poodles (Class AA; Texas League) will play their home opener at Hodgetown on April 8, while the Fayetteville Woodpeckers (High A; Carolina League) are set to host their first game at Segra Stadium on April 18.
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