Indiana Pacers co-owner Herb Simon is an equal partner in ownership of the team along with Stuart Katzoff and his father, Jerry, who owns a chain of East Coast Italian restaurants. The trio bought the team in 2006, and speculation has swirled about a move ever since. Despite speculation, Reno locals have remained skeptical the deal would get done in time for next season.
“We’re definitely coming in ’09,” Stuart Katzoff told about 300 cheering fans including Reno’s mayor as the team’s name and logo were unveiled at a downtown hotel-casino. Katzoff said the name was chosen to tie in Reno’s casino history and reflect the tradition of baseball.
“We spent a long time working on this name,” Katzoff told the Associated Press. “We wanted to find something that fit the region, something that was professional and really was a symbol of who we think the community of Reno is. We think we’ve nailed it perfectly.”
The team’s ownership group broke ground on a $50 million stadium in Reno in February. The project near Reno’s downtown casino district will seat 10,000, including 3,500 lawn seating. Simon, who also co-founded locally based shopping mall conglomerate Simon Property Group, is using his experience to help the team build a neighboring outdoor plaza which includes retail shops and restaurants.
Team officials called the project “first class,” and added that it “will change the face of downtown [Reno] forever.”