The College World Series is one of Omaha’s biggest events of the year, drawing baseball fans from all over the nation to watch what many call one of the greatest shows on dirt. However, this season the stands have looked a little more empty than usual.
Through the first seven games, 141,795 people have attended the 2016 College World Series. That may seem like a lot, but it’s roughly 12,000 less people than last season through seven games. In fact, since the College World Series has been at TD Ameritrade Park, there has not been less than 150,000 people through the gates through the first seven games.
“I think we’ve got several issues involved,” NCAA’s Managing Director for Championships and Alliances Ron Prettyman said. “Certainly the weather. The first few days were really hot and humid. We ran up against game seven of the NBA playoffs. We’ve got a couple of teams that don’t travel as well as some teams that have travelled in the past, but I think everything is very healthy.”
With the temperatures reaching nearly 100 degrees during the first few days of the CWS, the businesses, as well as TD Ameritrade, felt the heat. The fact that big names like LSU and Cal State Fullerton fell short on the road to Omaha is one reason many think the bleachers haven’t been as full.
“Cal Santa Barbara and Coastal Carolina. There’s no LSU or Mississippi State,” Omaha native Larry Holman said. “When I walked in, I saw big tents for both LSU and Mississippi State. They were tailgating out there, having a good time. They plan their vacation around this, that’s what they do.”
Whatever the reason is, Prettyman is hopeful that the attendance numbers will turn around as the event goes on.
“I think everything is fine. I am disappointed that we are having a little bit of a downturn in the attendance numbers, but I think it’s just an aberration,” Prettyman said. “We’ve got a lot of games ahead of us and I think we’re going to see this tournament take a rebound.”
With as many close games as there have been, the tournament has not been short of excitement. Prettyman said the level of play alone should be enough to bring people through the gates.
“Anybody who loves college baseball has got to love this tournament,” Prettyman said. “The games have been exciting, we’ve seen homeruns, we’ve seen key strikeouts, key base hits, we’ve seen long ball and small ball from the West Coast teams that have been very successful. It’s a fun caliber of baseball and I think people will want to see the whole thing down the stretch of the College World Series.”