Reno Aces to play at Greater Nevada Field
Special to The R-C
RENO — There will be a strong Carson City presence in downtown Reno during the next 15 years.
The Reno Aces minor league baseball team and the Reno 1868 FC soccer team announced Thursday that Aces Ballpark, as it has been called since the Triple-A baseball team was born in 2009, will now be known as Greater Nevada Field, named after the Carson City-based Greater Nevada Credit Union.
“This is a once-in-a-generation type of announcement that we have sought since the facility was conceived,” said Eric Edelstein, president of the Aces and Reno 1868 FC. “We have committed to a long-term relationship that benefits the entire community.”
The agreement between GNCU and the Aces and Reno 1868 is for 15 years, though the financial terms were not disclosed. Edelstein, though, did say that the naming rights fee has been agreed upon and will not continue to be negotiated. Naming fees for minor league ballparks normally are for at least $100,000 a year, though they sometimes can get to seven figures. The Arizona Diamondbacks’ Class A team in Hillsboro, Ore., (the Aces are the Diamondbacks’ Triple-A franchise), for example, gets a reported $150,000 annually for its naming rights deal. The Fresno Grizzlies, a Triple-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants for years and recently the Houston Astros, received $1 million annually for 15 years from the Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino and named its stadium Chukchansi Park.
Naming minor league facilities after financial institutions, especially in minor league baseball, is common. Fifth Third Bank, for example, has its name on five stadiums. BB&T (Branch Banking and Trust) has its name on two. There’s also, among others, Richmond County Bank Ballpark for the Staten Island (N.Y.) Yankees, Provident Bank Park for the Rockland (N.Y.) Boulders and the Whitaker Bank Ballpark for the Lexington (Ky.) Legends.
“We are part of the vision of downtown Reno,” Edelstein said, “making downtown Reno the urban center it deserves to be. We’ll continue to be a part of that long-term and this can’t be done without partners. We want to be more. We want to be greater. We want to be the community center of what Reno is all about. To make that happen we needed a partner who believes in us and we can believe in to make it all happen.”
Greater Nevada Credit Union was established in 1949 and is headquartered in Carson City. The financial institution serves over 50,000 people, employs nearly 250, has nearly $600 million in assets and its subsidiaries include Greater Nevada Mortgage and Greater Nevada Insurance.
“This is a very exciting day and we are thrilled with this partnership,” GNCU president and CEO Water Murray said. “We (the Aces, Reno 1868 and GNCU) believe we have similar interests in mind, to serve the community and make it better. And this is just the beginning.”
Murray said GNCU wants a greater presence throughout the entire region.
“We’ve done a lot of work on this over a number of months,” he said. “I truly believe this is going to benefit everyone involved, as well as the entire community. We’re looking forward to Greater Nevada Field becoming a year-round venue that hosts a variety of events and programs and provides a multitude of safe and enjoyable experiences.”
The 9,100-seat stadium will feature Greater Nevada Field (and Greater Nevada Credit Union) signage throughout the facility, including on the exterior facade along Evans Avenue as well as on the left field scoreboard.
Discussions between GNCU and the Aces began a year ago and the agreement was signed about 10 days ago.
“These sorts of things take time to come together,” Edelstein said. “But we’ve been confident that it would come together for some time now.”
Edelstein said the Aces have been looking for corporate sponsorship in the name of the stadium since the groundbreaking ceremony at the 6.23-acre site took place on Feb. 28, 2008.
“I just think it took people some time to see our long-term success and commitment to the community for them to visualize it,” Edelstein said. “When we got here the (financial) world bottomed out (the stock market crash of 2008). The world changed so it was difficult at that time. It took time and energy for everything to rebuild.”
Edelstein added that the talks with GNCU actually started before the existence of the Reno 1868 soccer team. “We told them that this (the soccer franchise) was something we were looking at but, yes, it was before all that became a reality,” Edelstein said.
The City of Reno was well represented at the press conference on Wednesday at the ballpark’s Bugsy’s Sports Bar and Grill overlooking the stadium’s third base line. “This all comes down to partnership and I can’t think of a better partner than Aces Ballpark,” Reno city councilman Oscar Delgado said.
Reno 1868, of the six-year-old United Soccer League, will open its first 30-game season in 2017. A United States Soccer League game between Sacramento Republic FC and Real Monarchs SLC will take place at Greater Nevada Field on June 11. The Aces will open their eighth season in Reno at home on April 7 against Salt Lake City.
Calling the stadium a field instead of a ballpark, Edelstein said, was not an accident with the emergence of the professional soccer team.
“Doing that wasn’t about getting rid of the baseball connection,” Edelstein said. “It’s just with the word field, you can play virtually anything on a field. This was about re-defining what we have become.”
The original Aces Ballpark was constructed at a cost of about $50 million. The Aces have had 27 sellout crowds over the past seven seasons, including a crowd of 9,167 for the team‘s first game, an 11-1 win over Salt Lake City, on April 10, 2009.
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