Oklahoma City officials for years have stated they want the city to be the Omaha of softball, a permanent home for the Women’s College World Series.
According to multiple sources, it will be announced Thursday morning at a press conference that Oklahoma City will be given a longterm commitment from the NCAA to host the WCWS through at least 2035.
“I don’t want to give anything away, but the city of Oklahoma City will be very pleased,” said Sharon Cessna, the NCAA’s director of championships and alliances. “All the teams here and the NCAA are very pleased with what has happened the last 12 months.
“When you include improvements that will be made this next year, Oklahoma City could very well end up being the Omaha of softball.”
The NCAA moved the WCWS from Sunnyvale, Calif., to ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in 1990. It has remained in OKC every year since except 1996, when it drew sparse crowds at the Olympic softball venue in Columbus, Ga.
“This is what the coaches hoped would happen,” said Alabama coach Patrick Murphy. “There were things that were not as good as they could be, like a bathroom in the dugout. With all the changes, it’s going to be better than we ever imagined.”
One new feature at this year’s tournament is state-of-the-art padded dugouts, which feature restrooms and lteam meeting rooms behind the dugout underneath the bleachers.
When it was built in 1987, ASA Hall of Fame Stadium had a fixed permanent seating of almost 2,000. It was expanded to 5,000 in 2002. Bleacher seating behind the outfield has increased total capacity to 8,000. Next year, an additional 4,000 to 5,000 seats will be added in a triple-deck structure.
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