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Big 12 baseball: Fans weigh in on the Big 12 Tournament's future in Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City’s attendance has slipped in recent years, but the Big 12 already has indicated attendance isn’t an end-all, be-all variable, and fans and teams appreciate OKC’s ballpark and downtown layout.
By Mike Baldwin Published: May 24, 2014

“I know they made more money when they hosted it those two years in Arlington but it was inconvenient for everyone,” Daniel said. “The coaches love it in Oklahoma City. I’m surprised they didn’t talk to the coaches before they moved it to Tulsa next year.

“Oklahoma City is the home for the Big 12 baseball tournament sort of like the World Series in Omaha. You don’t want to keep moving it around. I think they should put it permanently in Oklahoma City.”

Ben Kates, who is in the demolition business, has attended the baseball tournament for more than two decades. Kates, 62, said anything new always draws, but sustaining momentum is difficult.

“After the first year or two you really have to work at it,” Kates said. “The All Sports Association has really worked at it to get people in the stands. It’s been supported through thick and thin. I’m disappointed they’re giving Tulsa a one-year trial.”

Big 12 coaches last week praised the job Oklahoma City officials have done over the years hosting the event.

Daniel said he believes Chickasaw needs a more elaborate scoreboard and the event needs to be promoted in addition to reaching out to Little League teams to help fill some of the seats.

“It’s the perfect setting,” Daniel said. “You can’t beat the Brick. The bottom line is this can’t be solely about money, especially when it’s been well-supported over the years by Oklahoma City.”

The All Sports Association’s top selling point is the overall experience. Out-of-town fans rave about easy accessibility.

“We have a long history in Oklahoma City,” Burda said. “They’ve done a tremendous job supporting this event. Our student athletes and coaches enjoy the experience, the intimacy of Bricktown to walk to the ballpark. A decision will be made at next year’s spring meeting.”

The Big 12 already has indicated attendance isn’t an end-all, be-all variable.

Arlington set the all-time NCAA postseason baseball tournament attendance record in 2002 when the event averaged nearly 19,000 fans a session, but Bricktown’s plusses helped Oklahoma City resume as the regular host.

“Regardless of what happens it doesn’t change the assets that Oklahoma City has to offer,” Brassfield said. “You have to look at our track record over three decades. I would say it’s easy to host an event one year. It is not easy to do on a consistent basis.”