Last season, Oklahoma and Alabama battled in the Women's College World Series championship game.
For the foreseeable future, their respective states might be battling for the right to host the annual June tournament.
Oklahoma City has been the WCWS home for 16 straight seasons, 22 of the past 23 and is under contract to host the next two.
But that streak is in slight danger, as it appears the Alabama Sports Foundation is trying to put together a bid to bring the tournament to Hoover, Ala.
“It's something that kind of sparked our interest, and we're going to start to pursue,” Billy Rodgers, vice president of the ASF, told the Tuscaloosa News. “Nothing formal has been done. We don't know what the deal is with OKC. It has been just kind of initial discussions amongst ourselves. We do have a stadium that's available, and it has some of the amenities that the NCAA looks for.”
But despite this recent threat, the Oklahoma City All Sports Association is committed to keeping the event here for 2015 and beyond.
“It is our intention to enter into a long-term agreement with the NCAA,” said Oklahoma City All Sports Association executive director Tim Brassfield. “We feel this event should stay here. We're doing everything within our power to keep it here for the next 20 to 25 years.”
In recent years, Hall of Fame Stadium has undergone needed renovations to accommodate the growing popularity of the event. Capacity is 5,500, but reserved-seating increases it to around 8,500 when temporary outfield bleachers are moved in.
In 2008, a 17- foot by 36-foot video board was added. And, two years ago, new locker rooms and a 10,000-square foot facility were constructed behind left field.
But Oklahoma City officials aren't done. They're in the process of raising $20 million — $8 million privately and $12 million from the city — to make more significant improvements to Hall of Fame Stadium, hoping to help secure a long-term deal with upper deck seating, suites, additional restrooms, concession stands and expanded media areas.
And that, according to Alabama coach Patrick Murphy, is where the added competition, created by this potential Hoover bid, could be beneficial to the tournament as a whole.
“I think it's very exciting,” Murphy told the Tuscaloosa News. “When there's another option, that's going to be great for everybody. If there is only one option, it's like they have no reason (in Oklahoma City) to improve their facility. They have done some great things the last couple of years with the new locker room(s) and adding seats and the permanent fence in the outfield. The whole atmosphere is awesome there, but it could always improve.”