By ALAN SNEL
Brett Lashbrook, owner of Las Vegas’ new pro soccer team, has big ideas for the team’s home stadium once the Las Vegas 51s leave Cashman Field for a new ballpark in Summerlin in 2019.
The Las Vegas Lights FC soccer team and the 51s will share Cashman in 2018. But with the Triple A baseball team set to move into a new venue next to City National Arena along Pavilion Center Drive near Red Rock Resort and Downtown Summerlin in 2019, Lashbrook said the possibilities are endless to enhance Cashman for only soccer in two years.
Lashbrook said he can envision removing the outfield fence to potentially build amenities such as a beer garden, modular suites, more concessions and bleacher seating for 8,000 in 2019.
And he will not ask for any public dollars for the improvements at Cashman.
“It would be a pad ready site that would allow for incremental building,” Lashbrook said this morning.
LVSportsBiz.com met Lashbrook at his team’s downtown headquarters on South 3rd Street before heading to Cashman Friday. His staff works in a converted church and the club is talking about forging business relationships with downtown strongholds such as Zappos and The D hotel-casino. The team’s aim is to pack Cashman with 10,000 fans — a challenge when temperatures soar above 100 degrees in the summers here.
The Zappos millennial crowd would be a great fit for the new United Soccer League team, while The D owner Derek Stevens is a colorful sports promoter who backs everything from Vegas Golden Knights hockey to outdoor MMA and boxing matches at his all-purpose outdoor events center.
To get Cashman ready for soccer on game day in 2018, the Lights will cover all the 51s and New York Mets logos with Las Vegas Lights FC logo banners.
“Cover it up. Cover it up. Cover it up,” Lashbrook said as he strolled up the pedestrian ramp at Cashman Friday.
There will be also a large Lights merchandise stand to greet soccer fans when they enter through the stadium’s main gate, Lashbrook said.
Lashbrook said he looked at installing on-field seating next year, but that won’t happen because ADA requirements did not make the field seats feasible.
For next season, the team will double the on-field space party space that is currently down the 51s baseball field’s leftfield line. And seat behind the soccer goals will cost $20 each, though fans can but a 20-game season ticket deal for $200 (and get a free jersey) — or $10 per seat.
The soccer team will remove the pitcher’s mound or its games, but will make the field ready for 51s baseball after its games.
Lashbrook said he plans to hire a coach this month and don’t be surprised if the coach is not an American. Then, the team roster will be assembled, with the first exhibition games being played in February. The Lights will be one of 33 teams in the United Soccer League, considered a Triple A league and one step below Major League Soccer (MLS) — the big leagues of soccer in this country.
Lashbrook hopes to grow the Las Vegas Lights into an MLS franchise one day. He has a track record in this area as Lashbrook helped the Orlando team transition from the United Soccer League to MLS. But Lashbrook noted that MLS probably wouldn’t consider Cashman a viable venue for one of its teams.
LVSportsBiz.com founder/writer Alan Snel can be reached at asnel@LVSportsBiz.com.com