Sam Morris / Las Vegas News Bureau
Tuesday, May 1, 2018 | 2 a.m.
An entirely new era is set to be ushered in for the Las Vegas 51s.
After this season, the Triple-A baseball team will not only move to a new stadium, it will feature a new Major League Baseball team affiliation with a new team name.
The organization conducted a team-naming contest that concluded Monday, seeking community input on the rebranding as it moves from downtown Las Vegas to Downtown Summerlin and its $150 million, 10,000-seat Las Vegas Ballpark for the 2019 season.
Chuck Johnson, Las Vegas 51s general manager, was surprised by the interest, as the team took in more than 2,500 entries.
The team hopes the new name will focus on an aspect of Southern Nevada that stands out.
“We want to take advantage of some of the uniqueness to our marketplace. So a name is going to focus on geography or indigenous species or something,” Johnson said. “Minor league baseball lends itself to be super creative in that aspect, and we decided as a team that it was a good time to rebrand and make the move to the new ballpark 100 percent complete.”
The 51s thought it was important to include the fans in the team-naming process to give them a sense of ownership for the team.
Although the 51s know they will exit the New York Mets organization after this season, as the franchise is moving the Triple-A affiliate to Syracuse, N.Y., Johnson said Las Vegas will not know its new affiliation until near the end of summer.
“There’s a very straight schedule that Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball makes us adhere to, and that process usually starts about the first or second week of September,” he said. “We’ll know within 10 days after that start date who our new affiliation is — so sometime in the middle of September.”