The Borderland's long-time residents, the Tigua Tribe, become the new majority owners of the city's oldest professional sports franchise.
In a late-Friday afternoon news conference, the El Paso Diablos management introduced the Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo as majority owners of El Paso's baseball franchise. The announcement was made at the Diablos home for the last two decades, Cohen Stadium in Northeast El Paso
Along with controlling interest in the Diablos, the Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo will have two of the five seats on the team's Board of Directors. This is the first time the team has a local owner since 1999.
The Diablos' General Partner and President Matt LaBranche said the team was approached by their league and told to try to find a local entity to take over. He said the team immediately thought of the Tiguas.
For Tigua Tribal Governor Frank Paiz, a lifelong Diablos fan, it's a perfect match.
"Growing up with no money, the tribe didn't have a casino, so we'd always come down here and come eat hot dogs...that's all we had," Governor Paiz said.
The Tiguas still own and operate Speaking Rock Entertainment Center in the city's Lower Valley, and have made the former casino a concert and entertainment venue, landing several concerts and shows. Their hope is to bring similar events to Cohen Stadium.
Paiz added that the lease of Cohen Stadium still extends another 5 years, and the stadium needs some minor repairs.
The Diablos currently play in the American Association, an Independent baseball league.
The team has had previous affiliations with Major League Baseball's Los Angeles Dodgers, California Angels, Milwaukee Brewers and most recently the Arizona Diamondbacks.
While the Diablos-named franchise dates back to 1974, professional baseball has been played in the El Paso area since the early 1880's.