SBD/June 4, 2013/Colleges

Oklahoma City Seeking Long-Term Contract With NCAA To Remain Host Of WCWS

Oklahoma City officials have a $20M plan to upgrade ASA Hall of Fame Stadium
Oklahoma City's contract with the NCAA to host the Women's College World Series runs through '14, and officials with the city, the All Sports Association and the Amateur Softball Association "want to secure a long-term contract to keep OKC as the home of college softball's biggest event," according to Carlson & Wright of the OKLAHOMAN. As part of the "pursuit of a multiyear contract -- something in the 20-year range, similar to what Omaha got for college baseball's College World Series -- local entities have developed a plan to add 4,200 upper-deck seats to ASA Hall of Fame Stadium, along with providing other updates and improvements for fans, teams and media." The All Sports Association with the upgrades hopes to "address some of ESPN's desires -- because their push to broadcast all of the WCWS games was one of the cornerstones of growing the event." Additional locker rooms and warm-up rooms for the players are the "first phase of the three-phase plan." The central structure of the stadium will "be improved in the second phase, with the upper-deck seats coming in the third phase of an overall plan targeted for completion in 2018, if funding and everything else come together as planned." The cost of the project is estimated at $20M, with about $7M "coming from private sources" and $13M "from public funds, including a potential future bond issue." As part of the fundraising efforts, the naming rights for the stadium "are being made available for purchase." Challengers to Oklahoma City as a host over the past decade "have been few." But now the Alabama Sports Foundation is "mulling a bid to lure the WCWS to Hoover, Ala." (OKLAHOMAN, 6/3).
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