Some of us still have a bitter taste from when the National Finals Rodeo moved out of Oklahoma City. Now we may lose another world-stage event. Let’s not let this happen! The city and private donors are pitching in to upgrade ASA Hall of Fame softball stadium. Improvements will add more than 4,200 seats, increasing capacity to 12,000-plus, including outfield bleachers. There also will be new dugouts, new locker rooms, a new box office, added concession areas and a renovated press box.
Oklahoma reaps tremendous economic rewards from the 30 events annually held at this site. The Women’s College World Series has a $12 million to $14 million economic impact on the city. When we add the 4,200 seats, we’ll be reaching a $20 million economic impact. Competitive rewards also come our way. Having these softball tournaments in Oklahoma City means Oklahoma teams have a competitive advantage, as each strong fan base comes out to support its team.
This week, Oklahoma City is hosting the World Cup of Softball. The tournament features USA, Japan, Australia, Canada and Puerto Rico. Through ESPN coverage, the World Cup is promoting our great city and state to a world audience, estimated at 1 million households. ASA Hall of Fame Stadium and the coming improvements are vital in making our city a great attraction and destination for the WCWS and World Cup.
Let’s play host to these types of events for many, many years to come.
J. Blake Wade, Oklahoma City
Wade is executive director of the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum.