It's The El Paso Chihuahuas!
The El Paso Chihuahuas is the newest Triple-A Baseball team in the country and will compete in El Paso's new downtown ballpark as the Triple-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres starting in the Spring of 2014. The team's name and logo were introduced to the media and invited guests on Tuesday in the Plaza Theatre.
"First and foremost, we want to appeal to kids and families, our core audience," said Alan Ledford, president of MountainStar Sports Group. "We want to celebrate the region, create fan experience opportunities and build a brand that embodies the fun product that Minor League Baseball teams are all about."
The search for the team name began with a community-wide effort, allowing the region's fans to submit names through the El Paso Triple-A website. The list was narrowed based on creativity, marketability, fun, relevance to El Paso's unique character and the ability to trademark the name.
"El Pasoans played a significant role in identifying our new team name -- they attended focus groups, suggested several hundred different names, and voted in record numbers for all the names," said Ledford.
Shae Vierra, who submitted the Chihuahuas name, was chosen at random as the "Name the Team" contest winner, choosing the Chihuahuas for its reference to the popular dog and the Chihuahuan Desert. As the winner, Vierra will collect two season tickets, a personalized jersey and the opportunity to throw out one of the ceremonial first pitches on Opening Night.
The Chihuahuas name was chosen primarily to represent El Paso's spirit and fiercely-loyal community, and recognize the region's location in the Chihuahuan Desert. The new name will allow the team to create a comprehensive brand of fun, family-oriented entertainment associated with Minor League Baseball.
"Look at the name and logos through the eyes of a child and you can't help but smile," Ledford said. "That's what we're all about."
A scrappy Chihuahua with a spiked collar is the centerpiece of the identity. The family of official logos includes designs for a wide variety of fan choices, including a classic "EP" with the hallmark mountain star, a chewed ball and crossbones, and a swinging Chihuahua -- a nod to the San Diego Padres' Swingin' Friar.
"We are proud to present a progressive logo and brand that captures the fun of Minor League Baseball and represents the passion and fierce loyalty for which El Pasoans are known," said General Manager Brad Taylor. "Our product is one for the entire family. We have a look for everyone."
In keeping the brand representative of El Paso, the team colors are desert red, black, and Chihuahua tan.
The Chihuahuas were brought to life by Brandiose, a design firm in San Diego. Partners Jason Klein and Casey White have dreamed up over fifty team names and graphics, including brands for the Richmond Flying Squirrels, Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, and America's oldest baseball club, the Cincinnati Reds.
The development process began when Klein and White met in El Paso with fans, team staff, and community members to learn about the stories, history, and personality of the region. Brandiose developed the logos and team uniforms, and is developing elements of the fan experience including the Chihuahuas' forthcoming mascot.
"The Chihuahuas brand embodies El Paso's values of independence, community pride, and a fighting spirit," said White. "Fans will love seeing El Paso's Chihuahuas and the downtown ballpark will offer a world-class fan experience that will come to life next spring."
The Chihuahuas will unveil their new uniforms for the 2014 season at a later date.
The team name reveal event also featured the grand opening of the team's downtown merchandise store, featuring the Chihuahuas' new look and team apparel. The store is located at 303 N. Oregon, Suite 120 and is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Also unveiled was the team's new website,www.EPChihuahuas.com, along with the El Paso Chihuahuas' new Facebook and Twitter pages.