SBD/June 26, 2013/Facilities

TD Ameritrade Park Could Net Its First Profit This Year Due To Larger CWS Crowds

Attendance at TD Ameritrade Park was up nearly 15,000 from last year
Bigger crowds at this year's College World Series "could put TD Ameritrade Park in the black for the first time" since it opened in the spring of '11, according to a front-page piece by Erin Golden of the OMAHA WORLD-HERALD. The stadium last year made $4.5M during the series, but "once the bills had been paid -- to bondholders, to the NCAA, to the people and companies that keep the park running -- the venue had a net loss of $122,668." It was "an improvement from the park's first fiscal year loss of $803,000 but still not the result the city and the Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority wanted." It is "too soon to tell exactly how this fiscal year, which ends June 30, will shake out." But MECA President & CEO Roger Dixon said that the "combined boost of February's hockey double-header and higher attendance at the CWS is 'promising' for the park's year-end financial situation." Total attendance at this year's CWS was 341,483, up from last year's 326,734 -- "which even had one more game." Omaha City Attorney Paul Kratz said that the "debt service on the park is the first responsibility." The city so far has "paid down" $2.9M of the balance. If it "keeps to the planned payment schedule, the park will be paid off in 2036." The venue was "built for the CWS, and it's the series that covers the park's expenses." However, making a profit "requires a successful stream of cash from other events." TD Ameritrade Park next year will host the Big Ten conference baseball tournament, and MECA officials "have been talking with Creighton about hosting the Big East Conference tournament" (OMAHA WORLD-HERALD, 6/26).

MISSING ROSENBLATT: In Raleigh, Luke DeCock wrote what was "once a showcase for the best of college baseball has become a grueling tableau of the worst of it thanks to Omaha’s new TD Ameritrade Park, where the wide-open spaces leave hitting and pitching trumped by bad defense." The ballpark was built with fences and power alleys "designed to contain the old ping-happy, ball-launching aluminum bats." The same season the venue opened, the NCAA "debuted a less-powerful bat that mimics its wooden counterpart." TD Ameritrade Park was "obsolete" before it ever hosted a CWS game. It is a "beautiful ballpark, but it’s bad for college baseball." The venue's dimensions are "better fitted for a national park than a ballpark." Univ. of North Carolina OF Chaz Frank said, "To make it more interesting for the fans, it'd probably be cooler to move the wall in. But they probably won’t do that." Going into the finals, there were "a total of three home runs hit in 12 games" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 6/25).
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