Friday, June 20, 2008

NCAA College World Series Stadium Question

The College World Series (CWS) will stay in Omaha through 2035, after a 25 year contract extension was recently signed. The city is motivated to keep the 10 day CWS as estimates have it injecting $41 million to Omaha. That's about $177 per day per person - which may be a bit high, but at least a reasonable enough figure to start with.

What will change is starting in 2011 the College World Series will be played in a new baseball stadium located in downtown Omaha, instead of Rosenblatt Stadium - where the CSW currently plays.

The city of Omaha is estimating the new stadium will cost between $130 million to $140 million to host the CSW. The new stadium is planned to have 24,000 capacity - slightly more than at Rosenblatt. To pay for the new stadium, the city is proposing a 1% increase on the cities hotel tax and a $2 surcharge on car rentals. The city is requiring that "[b]efore any revenue is distributed to the NCAA, stadium construction debt and operating expenses and payments to a capital reserve fund must be covered." Currently this is estimated to be between $2 million and $3 million. Last year the NCAA made $3.6 million on the CWS excluding TV revenue. Omaha's mayor thinks the CWS could make more money than at Rosenblatt "...because of stadium naming rights, suites and other fan amenities" from the new stadium. Current projections are $5.5 million in ticket sales alone. Given the excess demand for CWS tickets - just head to Omaha and observe the long lines of people wanting to buy a ticket - especially if Nebraska or Creighton make the CWS - the increase in prices needed to generate higher CWS ticket sales is not that far fetched.

What will Omaha do with Rosenblatt? Well, the city of Omaha which owns Rosenblatt and leases the stadium to the Omaha Royals - the AAA farm team of the Kansas City Royals - plans to sell the land to the Henry Doorly Zoo, which could use the land to expand their world class zoo. Omaha also would like Creighton University and the Omaha Royals to lease the new stadium.

Since the Omaha Royals are in essence being evicted from their currently home, er... stadium, should the Omaha Royals stay or go? Last year the Omaha Royals had a five year high average attendance of 4,803 - which is well below the 24,000 seating capacity at the proposed stadium. This excess supply of seats greatly reduces the ability of the Omaha Royals to increase ticket prices. The Omaha Royals would prefer a smaller stadium like Haymarket Park in Lincoln Nebraska - which seats 6000, but are on record that they like the new stadium plan in Omaha. Should the Omaha Royals baseball club see if they could move to Lincoln, or should they stay in Omaha and try to get a good deal with the city - including extracting some revenues from the CWS?

You tell me!

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