The Stevens Baseball Group has purchased the Las Vegas 51s professional baseball franchise from Mandalay Baseball Properties. The 51s, the Triple-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers of the Pacific Coast League, is the longest enduring franchise in the history of professional sports in Southern Nevada. The 51s will enter their 26th PCL season at Cashman Field with the season and home opener scheduled for Thursday, April 3 against the Salt Lake Bees at 7:05 p.m. The sale of the franchise was approved by the PCL Board of Directors, the Commissioner of Major League Baseball and the President of Minor League Baseball.
The Stevens Baseball Group is a family with significant holdings in Detroit and Southern Nevada. The new ownership group is excited about continuing the tradition of Triple-A baseball in the Silver State that has been in existence for a quarter-century (1983-2007).
The ownership group has been a vital part of the Las Vegas community with business relationships for over six years.
"We are excited to continue to provide the baseball fans of Southern Nevada with first-class family entertainment," Derek Stevens, Chief Executive Officer/Stevens Baseball Group, said. "The 51s organization has built a solid fan base throughout the years and more impressively, the overall attendance has increased in each of the last three seasons."
"I have been coming to games at Cashman Field for 16 years," Stevens added. "Triple-A baseball is a great product that fans of all ages can come out to enjoy. It also provides for a fun and affordable night at the ball park. We are excited about owning this franchise and to have a first-class product on the field especially with our affiliation with the Dodgers, a franchise with a great tradition.
"We will also look at additional investors for the team that could involve both local and high profile national celebrities. The potential local investors would afford us the opportunity to enhance our connection with the community.
"Las Vegas is a great place to live and we also look forward to continue the tradition of 51s baseball to being an integral part of this community."
The sale of the club to the Stevens Group will further enhance the positive direction that the 51s have been moving in over the past few seasons. 51s President/General Manager Don Logan will enter his 25th season with the organization in 2008. The two-time PCL Executive of the Year is looking forward to the opportunity in working with the Stevens Group.
"I'm excited about the future of this franchise with the Stevens Baseball Group," Logan said. "We will begin our 26th season with the goal of continuing to provide fun and exciting entertainment during the summer months." We have always been the closest thing to a Major League sport in this market and we will continue to work hard and strive to be a great entertainment entity for the families of Southern Nevada and a reliable community partner."
The 51s, under second-year manager Lorenzo Bundy, compiled a 67-77 (.465) record for the second straight season in 2007. Las Vegas finished in fourth place behind PCL and Triple-A champion, the Sacramento River Cats. In 2007, Las Vegas enjoyed another successful season at the gate and Minor League Baseball set another attendance record (42,812,812, an increase of more than 1.1 million fans over the 2006 season). It marked the fourth year in a row that the industry set its all-time record.
Las Vegas, which enters its eighth season as the top affiliate of the Dodgers, compiled its third highest "home" attendance mark in franchise history in 2007. In 72 dates, Las Vegas' total was 371,676 for an average of 5,162. Las Vegas recorded six sellouts with a season-high crowd of 12,179. The Las Vegas franchise has reached the 300,000 plateau in attendance at Cashman Field for 25 consecutive seasons (1983-2007). The all-time attendance total now stands at 8,312,310.
Over the past two seasons, 51s fans had the opportunity to watch the top prospects in the Dodger minor league system play at Cashman Field. The list includes: Chad Billingsley (2006), Jonathan Broxton (2006), Andre Ethier (2006), Matt Kemp (2006-07), Andy LaRoche (2006-07), James Loney (2006-07), Russell Martin (2006) and Delwyn Young (2006-07).