SBD/May 30, 2014/Events and Attractions

Women's College World Series To Stay In Oklahoma City Through At Least '20

Oklahoma City has hosted the WCWS in all but one year since '90
The Women’s College World Series will "remain at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium through 2020 and likely through 2035, becoming the third long-term agreement the NCAA has with a city to host a championship event," according to Jacob Unruh of the OKLAHOMAN. NCAA Exec VP/Championships & Alliances Mark Lewis said, "I think Oklahoma City is the mecca of softball and it stands certainly on its own two feet. What we do in Omaha for the College World Series ... and what we do here for Division I Women’s College World Series, they’re our longest standing agreements." Unruh notes the possible extension through '35 will "be triggered based on scheduled improvements to the stadium, which include new press amenities, permanent outfield bleachers, and a triple-deck structure behind home plate." ESPN softball analyst Michele Smith said, "It’s a commitment both directions." She added, "It’s not just the Women’s College World Series, but Team USA International competition." Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett estimated that the total cost "of all improvements to the stadium will finish around" $20M, but added that not all of that money "comes from taxes as some philanthropic donations and naming rights have contributed" (OKLAHOMAN, 5/30). The AP's Murray Evans noted the deal is similar to those for "baseball in Omaha, Nebraska, and outdoor track and field in Eugene, Oregon." The WCWS has been held at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium "every year but one" since '90. Attendance for the eight-team event has "been more than 100,000 each of the past seven years and more than 150,000 the past two years." The triple-deck seating "will add as many as 6,000 permanent seats" (AP, 5/29).
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