The Oakland A’s new Triple-A affiliate officially has its new name. The club will now be called the Las Vegas Aviators, in honor of Howard Hughes.
The A’s signed on with the Vegas affiliate in September, after four seasons partnered with the Nashville Sounds. At the time the team was known as the Las Vegas 51s, in reference to nearby Area 51 and its folklore of extraterrestrial activity, but they had already announced plans to rebrand in 2019. In addition to the new name, logo, and colors, they are also moving into a new stadium in April.
An extra bit of serendipity, via Ron Kantowski of the Las Vegas Review-Journal: “It is expected that the Aviators also will be referred to as the A’s, enhancing the synergy between the team and its major league big brother.” Regarding the logo, which you can see at the top of this article, Kantowski also notes that the reflection in the visor of the fighter pilot represents the backdrop of Summerlin, the location of the new ballpark.
The club is owned by the Howard Hughes Corporation (real estate), so the decision to base the new identity around the company’s namesake comes as no surprise. Here’s more from the team’s press release:
According to (company CEO David) Weinreb, the name change pays homage to the company’s namesake, Howard R. Hughes, Jr., one of the twentieth century’s most successful businessmen whose passion for aviation and legacy of innovation includes significant aviation-related firsts and accomplishments. In the H-1 Racer, a plane he designed and built, Hughes set the land speed record of 352 miles per hour in 1935. Hughes went on to set other records, including the fastest coast-to-coast flight in 1937 and the fastest circumnavigation of the globe in 1938, then acquiring and successfully operating major airlines and aviation companies.
“Hughes’ vision and ambition were unmatched,” said Weinreb. “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 name, the Las Vegas Aviators, was chosen from hundreds of names submitted by the general public through a competition in which the community was invited to participate in the naming process. According to Weinreb, the Aviators was a popular name nominated by many Southern Nevadans.
The team also made a hype video!
We are Aviators. pic.twitter.com/FnWya3uuYD— Las Vegas Aviators (@AviatorsLV) December 8, 2018
Here’s a look at the new caps.
Las Vegas Aviators hats pic.twitter.com/Ukerp9UIK7— Marc (@MeltzVegas) December 8, 2018
And one more angle, with a full view of the logo. If you weren’t clear, the new colors are navy blue, orange, and yellow.
Ready for takeoff: #Athletics' Triple-A Las Vegas affiliate soaring into new era as Aviators.— Minor League Baseball (@MiLB) December 8, 2018
: https://t.co/IS6jRGPtO2 pic.twitter.com/IiDberheAv
As for the stadium, which will seat around 10,000, A’s radio voice Ken Korach snapped some photos of the current progress. Click here and here for different angles.
First look at Las Vegas Ballpark, new home of the @Athletics PCL affiliate. On target for April 9 opener. pic.twitter.com/HzEOPY040x— Ken Korach (@KenKorachRadio) December 8, 2018
And finally, one last tweet to share. You’ll see why.
@AviatorsLV congrats on your new face and new digs. Can’t wait to come down and see you this summer.— Ben Kieckhefer (@Ben_Kieckhefer) December 8, 2018
Ben Kieckhefer is a State Senator in Nevada, though more in the Reno area than in Vegas. Do you think he knows yet that Dean Kiekhefer will pitch for the Aviators next season?