The Women’s College World Series will be staying in Oklahoma City for at least the rest of this decade, and likely for 20 more seasons.
The NCAA, the Amateur Softball Association, and city leaders made the announcement Thursday morning at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium, less than two hours before the 2014 WCWS was to begin.
The World Series will stay in OKC through 2020, and expected improvements to the facility should keep it in the city through 2035.
An agreement between the NCAA and Oklahoma City includes a four-phase renovation project, which will improve facilities for student-athletes, media, and hospitality for fans.
Dugouts, team meeting rooms and training rooms were renovated and completed prior to this year’s WCWS, and next year is expected to bring a renovated press box, a new building for game operations, and upgraded service areas.
Future plans include expanded concessions, new concourse and ticket area, plus an upper deck, which will expand capacity at Hall of Fame Stadium by 4,000 to 5,000 seats.
“ASA/USA Softball is extremely proud and privileged to be here in Oklahoma City,” said ASA/USA Softball Executive Director Craig Cress. “The sport of softball is a team sport, and the efforts and improvements that have been made are truly a team effort. We’re grateful for our partnership with the city of Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma City All-Sports Association and the NCAA. We’re thankful to be able to host this great event.”
“The NCAA is committed to ensuring the optimum experience for the student-athletes competing in our championships,” said Mark Lewis, NCAA executive vice president of championships and alliances. “This long-term agreement with Oklahoma City enables us to take the time to improve the facilities to ensure an even better experience for student-athletes and fans alike.”
“It has been thrilling to watch this event grow through the years and Oklahoma City is proud to be a part of the success story,” say Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett. “I believe the young women that compete for this national championship are incredible role models for young people in our community and we all benefit by keeping this event in our city. We believe these improvements reflect our commitment to making this event the best it can be. Oklahoma City has a long history of hosting successful NCAA events and we look forward to continuing that relationship.”
The Women’s College World Series is in its 33rd year, with 24 of those played in Oklahoma City.
The event has been held in OKC every year since 1990, except for 1996, when the tournament was held in Columbus, Georgia, for purposes of promoting softball at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.
Attendance has steadily grown at the WCWS through the years in OKC, with attedance records set in every session between 2012 and 2013.