A very notable milestone should be hit June 17, when NCAA officials anticipate the eight-millionth fan to attend the College World Series will cross the TD Ameritrade Park turnstiles.
Since 1950, 7,864,373 fans have traveled the Road to Omaha to attend the annual College World Series (CWS). After 62 years and 906 games in Omaha, the Series will celebrate its eight millionth fan milestone during the June 17, 4 p.m. game. A total of 917 Men’s College World Series games with an overall attendance of 7,886,517 have been played since the first Series was held in Kalamazoo, Mich., back in 1947.
Prior to the 4 p.m. game on June 17, four fans will be picked at random as they enter the general admission section of TD Ameritrade Park. The fans will receive upgraded seating, as well as CWS merchandise and a behind-the-scenes tour of the stadium press box, ESPN broadcast booth and other points of interest.
“College World Series fans have come to love and appreciate the passion and enthusiasm the student-athletes have brought to the game through the years,” said Dennis Poppe, NCAA vice president of baseball and football. “Today, Omaha is synonymous with the College World Series, which has become one of the top sporting events in the nation with the support of its many fans.”
“When the College World Series first came to Omaha, Harry Truman was president and it cost three cents to mail a letter,” according to Jack Diesing Jr., president of CWS of Omaha Inc., which is the sponsoring organization for the Series. “Total attendance for the entire 1950 Series was less than what we get for a single game today, which speaks to the unwavering support of fans over generations who have made the College World Series a permanent part of this community.”
It took 26 years (1947-1972) for the Series to reach its one millionth fan milestone, 11 years (1973-1983) to reach two million fans, eight years (1984-1991) to reach 3 million fans, six years (1992-1997) to reach four million fans, five years (1998-2002) to reach five million fans, four years (2003-2006) to reach six million fans and three years (2007-2009) to reach seven million fans. Other notable CWS milestones include:
- 1947 – The first CWS featured eight teams divided into two, four-team, single elimination brackets. The two winners met in a best-of-three final in Kalamazoo, Mich. Total attendance was 3,792.
- 1950 – An eight-team, double-elimination format coincided with the move to Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Neb. This format would continue until 1988. The baseball committee chose one team from each of the eight NCAA districts to compete at the Series.
- 1954 – District playoffs were conducted to determine the eight CWS participants.
- 1974 – First year for the designated hitter and aluminum bat.
- 1988 – The eight regional champions were seeded into two, four-team brackets. Those two brackets played double-elimination, with the bracket winners then meeting in a one-game championship.
- 1999 – The Series expanded from a field of 48 teams to 64. The 50th CWS played in Omaha was celebrated.
- 2008 – The NCAA signed a new 25-year contract agreement to continue the Series in Omaha.
- 2009 – The all-time attendance record of 336,072 was set.
RELATED STORIES: ESPN to broadcast every College World Series game; Omaha to open Rosenblatt Stadium site for CWS visitors; College World Series field set; Rosenblatt Stadium memorabilia going to auction; Zoo plan would preserve part of Rosenblatt Stadium
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