Omaha, Nebraska, once the nation’s largest city of stockyards, is the home of the College World Series of baseball. For 60 years, the CWS was held at Rosenblatt Stadium. But after the conclusion of the 2010 championship, the series was moved to the newly built TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha – a positive shift, in terms of economic impact.
Organizers say that 2013 represented a record attendance year. Projections of attendance growth estimate that total attendees of the series will reach 400,000-430,000 attendees by 2020, which represents an additional $10 to 15 million per year to the local economy of Omaha, bringing the total impact of the event on the city to $60 to $65 million.
The event’s economic impact on Omaha has been considerable over the years, Kathryn Morrissey, the Executive Director of the College World Series of Omaha Inc., told local PBS and NPR affiliate NET, and the move was key to growing the CWS.
“It definitely did allow us to expand our horizons, on a couple of fronts,” Morrissey said. “Purely by attendance, our attendance is up roughly 1,000 more per game than it was at Rosenblatt. That is very helpful in terms of crowd experience and students-athlete experience. To be able to look out at that kind of crowd is a crowning moment in their careers.”
Roger Dixon, president and CEO of Metropolitan Entertainment & Convention Authority, or MECA, told NET that the layout of TD Ameritrade Park has improved the attraction for fans, and allowed them to better interact with the community. The new stadium is more centrally located to Omaha tourist amenities and attractions.
“Fifteen years ago this was a Union Pacific railroad yard and today we’ve got a Convention Center Arena, a ballpark, hotels,” Dixon said. “It’s all developed. It’s been a great transformation. You walk out and look around the streets you see all the people that come in, hotels are busy, restaurants and bars are busy. You know that is going to be generating a lot of economic impact to the community.”
A few businesses, particularly those located close to Rosenblatt in South Omaha, have been left out of the growth. Others chose to pull up stakes and move closer to TD Ameritrade Park to reap the benefits of the new location and the larger crowds.