Las Vegas' WNBA franchise will be known as the Aces.
Officials with the team, formerly the San Antonio Stars, revealed the franchise's name and unveiled the new logo during a news conference Monday.
"Las Vegas has enthusiastically embraced us, and we're incredibly excited for this opportunity. We have a strong roster driven to succeed, which makes this name an ideal choice. 'Las Vegas Aces' is a nod to the excellence, confidence and competitive spirit of our new hometown," new Aces coach and president of basketball operations Bill Laimbeer said.
The Aces, who begin playing in Vegas in 2018, are the latest professional franchise to call the city home. The NHL's Golden Knights are off to a strong start in their inaugural season. The NFL's Raiders are expected to relocate to Las Vegas from Oakland, California, by the 2020 season.
MGM Resorts International bought the franchise in Oct. The team will play at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.
“Selecting a new name is an important and symbolic step,” Laimbeer, a two-time WNBA Coach of the Year and four-time NBA All-Star said.
WNBA President Lisa Borders said, “We are ecstatic to officially welcome the Las Vegas Aces to the WNBA family. The Aces are already embracing the opportunity to develop a deep connection with the local community, and we can’t wait to watch them bring the WNBA’s brand of world-class basketball to their new home in 2018.”
“This is a great time to bring women’s professional basketball to the Las Vegas community. The WNBA represents some of the world’s best athletes and will showcase its incredible talent for our hometown fans. Young girls and boys in our city will undoubtedly gain dynamic role models for professionalism, teamwork, dedication and discipline,” MGM Resorts President Bill Hornbuckle said.
The Aces are slated to play 17 regular season home games in 2018. The team will select first overall in the 2018 WNBA Draft, as it did last season, picking NCAA star Kelsey Plum.
The Aces will become the second major league professional sports team in Las Vegas, following the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights, who play at T-Mobile Arena. The NFL’s Oakland Raiders are expected to relocate to Las Vegas by the 2020 season.
Las Vegas’ new WNBA franchise was originally established for the league’s inaugural season in Salt Lake City in 1997 before moving to San Antonio prior to the 2003 season.
Season tickets are expected to go on sale to the public in early 2018.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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