BELOIT—Fans of the Beloit Snappers will have to get used to a new nickname when the team takes the field in their new ballpark in 2021.
The city’s minor league baseball franchise announced on Friday that it will have a new nickname that will be revealed in the coming days.
Quint Studer, the Snappers’ new owner-in-waiting, made the announcement in a letter to fans posted on the clubs’ social media platforms Friday afternoon.
“We’ve made the decision that, following the anticipated formal approval by Major League Baseball of the transfer of the ownership of the franchise, the team will take a new name when Beloit baseball moves into the new stadium in 2021,” Studer wrote.
While the team plans to change names, there will still be an element relating to the Snappers name at the ballpark.
“When we transition to the new ballpark, we plan to hold ‘Snapper Sundays’ with the team playing as the Snappers and wearing classic Snappers uniforms each Sunday.”
Snappy, the club’s popular mascot, will also move to the new stadium despite the name change, and apparel and merchandise will continue to be made available to fans.
Finalists for the new name will begin to be revealed this week, and fans will have the opportunity to have a say in the new name, as the club will survey a variety of sources before making a final choice.
Studer, reached by phone on Monday by the Daily News, said he was looking forward to the names being released and the process moving forward.
“The next four days, we’ll release one name each day,” Studer said. “Four of the five names were fan-suggested, and the other one I believe came from a staff member in Beloit. The fans were really creative in what they came up with, and we didn’t even use any of the names suggested by the consulting group that we brought in.”
Studer said the decision to keep the Snappers nickname, at least on a part-time basis, was his.
“We’ve been through this before in our time here in Pensacola, and people were really attached to the name Pelicans,” Studer said. “We couldn’t hang onto that when we went into affiliated ball because Myrtle Beach had the rights to it. But I know that some people really feel strongly about the Snappers, and I like that name, too. So the idea to keep that going I thought would really be great.”
The first of the five choices, revealed on Monday, was the Beloit Cheeseballs.
“The thing that we’re really looking for is creativity,” Studer said. “You look at some of the most popular names in Minor League Baseball, and they are the Sod Poodles, the Biscuits, the Amarillos. Our name in Pensacola is the first team name that is also a cheer, the (Blue) Wahoos. We want something that is going to help us in terms of merchandising. If we do well there, we can do a great job of keeping the stadium pristine, and keeping ticket prices low.”
The vast majority of Minor League teams pay rent for their facility, typically to a city or county. With the unique way in which the Snappers will operate, that isn’t the case.
“Because we own the property outright, we won’t have that annual rent payment,” Studer said. “Like in Pensacola, we pay $150,000 per year in rent. But when you have a landlord, just like when you rent a property, they are responsible for the upkeep. That isn’t the case here. We are responsible for things like insurance, utilities. We are budgeting for three scoreboards in 20 years, and to replace the turf twice, and the kitchen once. We estimate that’s all going to cost about $12 million over the 20 years. And my wife and I are looking at this almost like philanthropy. We aren’t planning on taking money out, but it’s important to be profitable enough to put away some money so we stay affordable, and merchandising is a way to do that.”