Black Bears™ Voted as Name of New West Virginia NY-Penn League Franchise

MORGANTOWN, W.Va., Oct. 22, 2014 –After more than 2,500 suggestions and 10,000 fan votes online, Rich Baseball Operations announced today that the West Virginia Black Bears™ has been chosen as the name of its new NY-Penn League franchise.

The West Virginia Black Bears™ will take the field for the first time in June  2015 at the new baseball-only ballpark that will be shared with the Big XII WVU Mountaineers baseball team.

The Black Bear is the official state animal of West Virginia and lives in all 55 counties of the state. The Black Bear is large and ferocious, but is also a highly intelligent animal, which can both outwit and outsmart its opponent, giving it many advantages to earn victory.

This is already the second “victory” for Black Bears™ in West Virginia. It was by popular vote in 1954 that the animal was chose as the state’s official animal. Since then, the population of black bears has steadily increased in the state.

“We are very excited to begin our identity as the West Virginia Black Bears™ and continue moving forward to Opening Day 2015,” said Matt Drayer, General Manager of the Black Bears™. “We want to thank all the great baseball fans of West Virginia for their tremendous support and engagement throughout the naming process.”

“We would also like to thank Dr. Dallas Branch and the West Virginia University Graduate Sports Management Program Sports Marketing Class for their efforts and teamwork in executing our fan voting contest.”

Branch, along with graduate students Andrew DiPietrantonio, Kristen Furlong, Brett Ervin and Manuel Garcia-Oronoz, were instrumental in the execution and success of the ‘Name the Team’ contest locally.

Black Bears™ was chosen after more than 2,500 name suggestions were received through online and paper ballots at United Bank and Clear Mountain Bank locations during a two-week span in September. Fans were then encouraged to vote from October 3-10 from a Top-10 list for their favorite name. In all, more than 10,000 votes were received with Black Bears™ coming out on top as the new name for the franchise.

Reserve your Season Tickets today

Fans can now reserve season tickets for the inaugural season of the West Virginia Black Bears™. Beginning on Opening Day, fans will have the best seats at the best possible price for all 38 Black Bears™ home games in 2015.

Season tickets, which can be reserved with a $100 deposit for each seat, will be $342 for premium seating and  $285 for reserved seat tickets. Along with a great discount off the single-game ticket price, Black Bears™ Season Ticket Holders will receive the first access to playoff tickets, reduced rates on ballpark parking and special privileges and gifts.

Fans can make a deposit by calling team offices at (304) 293-7910 or by emailing There is also a form fans can fill out and email in at A seat lottery will be held to determine seat location.

New Ways to Follow Black Bears™

With a new name, there are now new ways to stay up-to-date with all the exciting news and information leading up to the Black Bears™ Opening Day.

The official website for the team is now You can follow the club on Twitter @WVBlackBears, Facebook (, Instagram (@WVBlackBears) and Vine (WVBlackBears). Fans can contact the team via email at or by calling (304) 293-7910.

“Name The Team” Contest Winner

During the ‘Name Suggestion’ period of the naming contest, the team received over 2,500 unique and fun suggestions for a new club moniker. Several fans made the suggestion of Black Bears™ or of some variation of the new team name. Among those suggestions, Dan J. of Philippi, WV was selected by a random lottery to receive four complimentary season tickets for the entire 2015 inaugural season.

The Black Bears™ staff will also be contacting the first 500 fans who submitted a name during the first part of the contest. Each will receive a complimentary ticket voucher for a game during the 2015 season.


Matt Drayer –GM West Virginia Black Bears™

(304) 293-7910