College baseball: Big Ten extends baseball tournament in Omaha
ROSEMONT, Ill. – With the Big Ten Baseball Tournament set to return to Omaha, Neb., in 2016 and 2018, the conference announced an extension for TD Ameritrade Park Omaha to serve as the host venue from 2019 through 2022. The 2016 Big Ten Baseball Tournament will be back in the home of the NCAA Division I Men’s College World Series from May 25-29 after setting record attendance numbers in its debut in 2014.
“As we gear up for what we hope will be another record-breaking Big Ten Baseball Tournament in May, we are honored to have the opportunity to work with the Big Ten for many years to come,” Metropolitan Entertainment & Convention Authority President and CEO Roger Dixon said. “TD Ameritrade Park is a special place for college baseball and we are excited about the chance to play host to Big Ten fans from across the country.”
The Big Ten Baseball Tournament was held in Omaha for the first time in 2014 and established multiple attendance records. The attendance of 19,965 for the championship game on Sunday, May 25, ranked as the largest single-game conference tournament attendance in NCAA history. The five-day total tournament attendance of 62,020 marked the largest in the history of the event. Four days of the tournament featured attendance of more than 10,000, including Wednesday (10,400), Thursday (11,756), Saturday (12,319) and Sunday.
On June 5, 2014, the conference announced that the tournament would return to Omaha in 2016 and 2018 and with today’s announcement, the tournament will be held at TD Ameritrade Park seven times over a nine-year period. The site of the 2017 Big Ten Baseball Tournament will be announced at a later date.
The Big Ten Baseball Tournament has been played annually since 1981, with a four-team field through 1999 and a six-team event from 2000-2013 before moving to its current eight-team format in 2014. Six different schools have won the Big Ten Baseball Tournament, with Michigan and Minnesota leading all conference programs with nine titles each. Ohio State has won eight conference tournaments, followed by Illinois and Indiana with four tournament crowns and Purdue with one.
The 2016 Big Ten baseball season began on Feb. 19, after a record-breaking 2015 campaign. A conference-record five Big Ten teams were selected to the 2015 NCAA Tournament as Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland and Michigan each advanced to postseason play. Illinois was selected as one of 16 teams to host a regional, earning the No. 6 overall seed, the highest in school history. Maryland joined the Fighting Illini as each advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals.