The Edmond Sun

Sports

May 30, 2014

OKC secures NCAA world softball series through 2020

OKLA. CITY — The NCAA Women’s College World Series will continue to take place in Oklahoma City through 2020, and significant improvements to the Amateur Softball Association Hall of Fame Stadium will be made during that time that could enable the championship to extend its stay through 2035.

“ASA/USA Softball is extremely proud and privileged to be here in Oklahoma City,” said ASA/USA Softball Executive Director Craig Cress. “The sport of softball is a team sport, and the efforts and improvements that have been made are truly a team effort. We’re grateful for our partnership with the City of Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma City All-Sports Association and the NCAA. We’re thankful to be able to host this great event.”

The agreement between the NCAA and Oklahoma City includes a four-phase renovation process to improve facilities for student-athletes, access for media and hospitality for fans. A new television compound also has been completed. The city is currently in the process of improving and enlarging dugouts, team rooms and training rooms attached to dugouts — improvements that were completed before the start of the 2014 Women’s College World Series.

The next phase for 2015 includes expanded press boxes, a new building for game operations and upgraded guest service areas, with future phases that include expanded concessions, a new concourse and ticket area and an upper deck that will add 4,200 additional seats to the arena.

“The NCAA is committed to ensuring the optimum experience for the student-athletes competing in our championships,” said Mark Lewis, NCAA executive vice president of championships and alliances. “This long-term agreement with Oklahoma City enables us to take the time to improve the facilities to ensure an even better experience for student-athletes and fans alike.”

Oklahoma City has a rich history of hosting the Women’s College World Series. All of the women’s softball championships (with the exception of 1996) have been held at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium, with fan attendance increasing rapidly over the years.  

The record for highest overall attendance was in 2012 at 75,960. The Championship series game in 2013, in which the University of Oklahoma defeated the University of Tennessee, was the highest-attended championship game, with 8,527 fans — a near sellout. Between 2012 and 2013, an attendance record was set for every single session of the Women’s College World Series. Through 32 years of the WCWS, more than a million fans have attended and in 2013 the one millionth mark was reached on June 2 during session 6. A record 48 states were represented in ticket sales in 2013.

“It has been thrilling to watch this event grow through the years and Oklahoma City is proud to be a part of the success story,” said Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett. “I believe the young women that compete for this national championship are incredible role models for young people in our community and we all benefit by keeping this event in our city. We believe these improvements reflect our commitment to making this event the best it can be. Oklahoma City has a long history of hosting successful NCAA events and we look forward to continuing that relationship.”

The 33rd annual WCWS continues today through June 4 at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.

FOR MORE information, on the NCAA Women’s College World Series, visit www.NCAA.com/wcws. Tickets are now available for the 2014 Women’s College World Series at ncaa.com/softball.

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