Big crowds at the College World Series and a well-attended outdoor hockey event could put Omaha’s TD Ameritrade Park in the black for the first time.
The business plan behind the $131-million ballpark, built expressly to house the College World Series, is a little wonky: the NCAA gets a huge guaranteed chunk of the revenues, as do bondholders; after the bills are paid, the city and the Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority (MECA) are on the hook for any gap. In the first year of the College World Series, the ballpark operated at a $803,000 loss, while last season the ballpark cut that margin down considerably and operated with a $122,668 deficit.
This year could see the ballpark move into the profits side of the ledger, thanks to better-than-expected attendance at the College World Series (341,483, up from 326,734 in 2012, despite one fewer game played) and a hockey showcase. While the hockey revenue isn’t replicable, there are ways to schedule other baseball events so the ballpark runs at a break-even status. From Omaha.com:
Next year, TD Ameritrade will host the Big Ten Conference baseball tournament, and MECA officials have been talking with Creighton about hosting the Big East Conference tournament.
MECA officials continue to look for other events, but [Roger Dixon, MECA’s president and CEO], said there’s never been a goal of keeping the park busy through the year.
“Is TD Ameritrade Park going to be booked like an arena? No,” he said. “All you have to do is look at the comparable facilities: Werner Park, Haymarket Park. They play baseball. And they play baseball. And they play baseball.”
One thing that’s not on the agenda, we’re told: professional baseball in TD Ameritrade Park. There was an abortive effort to bring independent ball there, but that effort died.
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