By ALAN SNEL
The mood inside the Zappos theater at mid-day Friday was super-jovial, a pep rally where even the governor of Nevada made a cameo to celebrate the new minor league soccer team that will start in February in downtown Las Vegas.
This was not the time or place to contemplate the marketing challenge of drawing soccer fans to Cashman Field when the temperatures soar above the 100-mark in June, July, August and September.
No, it was a time for soccer fans to chant and blow horns and listen to Mayor Carolyn Goodman explain she was so elated that Las Vegas will host one of the 33 teams in the United Soccer League next year that she quipped to the several hundred soccer supporters, “If I fell over and dropped dead, I’d drop dead happy.”
The owner of the new soccer club — which will play in a league that is akin to Triple A baseball, just like the Las Vegas 51s baseball team — listed six finalist names for the soccer franchise.
Brett Lashbrook, of Las Vegas, who helped the Orlando soccer team move up from the United Soccer League to the soccer big leagues in this country, Major League Soccer, revealed the half-dozen names:
— Viva Vegas
— Las Vegas Silver
— Las Vegas FC
— Las Vegas Lights
— Las Vegas Action
— Club Vegas
Some of the names that were submitted by fans that didn’t make the final cut included: Dry Heat, Orange Cones, Fabulous Las Vegas, Las Vegas Valley FC, Silver Knights and Golden Nights.
Lashbrook said the soccer team will reflect the city’s diversity. Indeed, there was a strong showing from the local Hispanic community at the Zappos facility.
Last month, LVSportsBiz.com did a comprehensive story on Lashbrook’s plan to market the team: https://lvsportsbiz.com/2017/07/25/the-new-minister-of-soccer-in-las-vegas-promises-a-pro-team-with-pizzazz-and-flair/
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval welcomed the team in Las Vegas and is happy to hear that Sin City’s first soccer game will be a match against the United Soccer League team in Reno. That team shares a ballpark with a Reno Triple A baseball team — just like the Las Vegas team will be a co-tenant at Cashman with the Triple A 51s.
“I can picture the march to the game,” Sandoval told the crowd. He told the fans, “You will be the heart and soul of the team.”
In an interview with LVSportsBiz.com., the governor thinks the NBA is the next league to have a team in Las Vegas. Indeed, MGM Resorts International’s CEO, Jim Murren, has said he’s trying to have an NBA team serve as the second tenant at T-Mobile Arena, which is partially owned by MGM Resorts.
For now, it’s the NHL Vegas Golden Knights starting regular-season play in October, the new downtown Las Vegas soccer club launching in February and the NFL Raiders scheduled to play their first game at a 65,000-seat, domed stadium off Interstate 15 at Russell Road and Polaris Avenue in 2020.
Contact LVSportsBiz.com founder/writer Alan Snel at asnel@LVSportsBiz.com