With the Las Vegas Aviators (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) approaching their debut at the facility, Summerlin businesses are anticipating an economic boost from Las Vegas Ballpark.
The newest attraction in Downtown Summerlin, Las Vegas Ballpark will host its first game on Tuesday, when the Aviators welcome the visiting Sacramento River Cats. For the franchise–which was known as the 51s before announcing a rebrand to the Aviators in December–Tuesday’s game will represent the culmination of a years-long effort to replace Cashman Field with a modern facility.
It is expected, however, that Las Vegas Ballpark’s impact could extend beyond the franchise by leading to an uptick of economic activity in the master-planned community of Summerlin. The area has received a boost in recent years from another professional sports facility, as City National Arena–the training facility of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights, located just outside Las Vegas Ballpark–has been credited with bringing a surge in business activity to Downtown Summerlin. Construction of Las Vegas Ballpark and the arrival of the Aviators could further that trend, mainly by representing a new attraction that effectively increases economic activity over the traditionally slower summer months. More from the Las Vegas Sun (story originally appeared in the Las Vegas Weekly):
Summerlin has already found success with City National Arena, which has been a significant draw for spectators. When the NHL season ends and Southern Nevada’s summer temperatures begin to skyrocket, businesses in Downtown Summerlin tend to see fewer customers and patrons.
“This will really lift [businesses] during their slow months, usually from mid-June through Labor Day,” said Don Logan, president of the Aviators and the longtime face of professional baseball in Las Vegas. “The notion that sports venues don’t work for communities is false. The interest that we have and the interest that the Knights have at City National Arena, it’s significant.”
Tom Kaplan of Summerlin’s Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill, which sits just a stone’s throw from Las Vegas Ballpark, said if even a fraction of the ballpark’s capacity is filled each game, it should help area restaurants.
“We’re going to see large crowds to Summerlin on a regular basis,” Kaplan said. “It can be a bit of a struggle during the summer around here because of the heat and because people are going on vacations and things like that. Even if 2,000 people go to a game, though, that means more people around. If we got 10 tables per night because of baseball, that helps a lot.”
Las Vegas Ballpark is 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 are one of three affiliated Minor League Baseball teams opening a new ballpark this season. They are joined by the Amarillo Sod Poodles (Class AA; Texas League), who will play their home opener at Hodgetown on Monday, and the Fayetteville Woodpeckers (High A; Carolina League)–who are set to host their first game at Segra Stadium on April 18.
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