Omaha Prepares to Host College World Series at New Ballpark
The Road to Omaha takes shape.
Omaha, Neb. — The 2011 NCAA Division 1 College World Series is held annually in Omaha, but this year fans will be treated to something different — an all-new ballpark. TD Ameritrade Park Omaha opened in April and is the new CWS host, allowing this midwestern city to continue in a role that has served it well for more than six decades.
This year’s championship will run from June 18 to 28 or 29 if a deciding third championship game is needed. As of this writing, 64 Division 1 teams are fighting through regional games which are played on 16 sites across the country. Winners will move on to the Super Regionals which will be played at 8 sites from June 10-13, 2011. Those winners will earn a trip to Omaha where one team will emerge as the national champion of Division 1 college baseball.
The host school, Creighton University, finds itself in the Field of 64 and would be the crowd favorite if it is able to make it back to Omaha as a contestant rather than as a spectator. The University of Virginia is seeded first followed by Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida State, Vanderbilt, Texas and Rice.
Seating 24,505, TD Ameritrade Park Omaha has already hosted a number of events including the Missouri Valley Conference tournament. On April 19, the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Creighton Bluejays opened the park with a near sell out crowd witnessing the guest team win the regularly scheduled contest, 2 to 1.
The park is now Creighton’s home field and will also be home for the new Omaha Nighthawks United Football League franchise which will launch this year. The Nighthawks will play in the old Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium, the previous CWS venue, for one year before moving to the new park.
By agreeing to building a new stadium, the city of Omaha has assured itself that the CWS will remain in Omaha through 2035. The NCAA had considered moving the CWS elsewhere as the tournament had outgrown Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium. When Omaha agreed to support the $128 million stadium, the NCAA committed to keeping the CWS there at least 25 years with the possibility of an extended tenure.
The new stadium is a state of the art facility rivaling some big league stadiums, but on a smaller scale. Besides stadium seating, the ballpark features 26 luxury suites, an open air concourse and a fanfest area. The stadium has also been designed for future expansion, with room for 35,000 seats. By someday exercising that option, Omaha may stay as CWS host permanently, a move that would please city leaders and fans alike.