College World Series: Nine things to know about TD Ameritrade Park
OMAHA, Neb. -- TD Ameritrade Park Omaha has been the home of the College World Series since 2011, and will be until at least 2035. Owned by the city of Omaha and operated by Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority (MECA), it has shortly become an iconic part of the college baseball experience. The CWS had previously been held since 1950 at Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium, a place that will always live in the hearts of Omaha residents and college baseball fans, but TDAPO is already developing a history of its own.
Here are nine things to know about the park:
TD Ameritrade Park has as an official capacity of 24,500, though it can hold up to 35,000. Its seating capacity makes it the largest non-MLB stadium in the United States. Howard J. Lamade Stadium, the home of the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, has an official capacity of 40,000, but the majority of that is outside the grandstand, which fits 15,000. The next biggest stadium after TDAPO is Coca Cola Field in Buffalo, New York, the home of the AAA Buffalo Bisons.
America... Beautiful.— NCAA Baseball (@NCAACWS) June 22, 2016
... Beautiful. pic.twitter.com/MESlUybWUo
The biggest crowd to attend a game at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha was in the 2015 College World Series, when LSU took on TCU on June 18 in front of a crowd of 28,846. TCU won 8-4 to eliminate the Tigers.
From home plate to straight-away center is 408 feet. It’s 335 feet down the lines and 375 feet to left and right center, with a symmetrical fence design from pole to pole. Those field dimensions are the same as they were at Rosenblatt Stadium. All the way around, the fence is eight feet tall. The batter’s eye in center field is 42 feet tall, and the bullpens are directly behind the fence down each line. At home plate, the shortest distance to a row of seats is 52 feet.
Road to Omaha sculpture
The now-iconic statue outside the front gate of TDAPO was sculpted in 1999 by local artist John Lajba and dedicated that same year for the 50th anniversary of the College World Series at Rosenblatt Stadium. Lajba refurbished the statue before its move from Rosenblatt to TD Ameritrade Park in 2011, where it has been on display in the northwest corner ever since. An award with a miniature replica of the sculpture is given to the most outstanding player of the College World Series.
A total of 66 sections surround the field. There are 37 in the 100 level, 12 of which are general admission outfield sections. General admission tickets for the College World Series go for $8 each. The next level up, there are 23 seating sections as well as 30 luxury boxes with a total capacity of 2,500, with the final six sections on the 300 level, with three down each line.
Building the stadium
The ballpark’s ground-breaking was on January 21, 2009. Built by Kiewit Building Group, it took more than two years to finish, with an official completion date of April 14, 2011. It didn’t take long to begin using it – Nebraska played Creighton in the first game at TDAPO on April 19. The Huskers won 2-1 in front of a crowd of 22,197.
Beyond the right-field fence, there is a giant high-definition videoboard that is 54 feet wide and 34 feet, six inches tall. Directly underneath is a 54 feet by 10 feet line scoreboard, and the videoboard is replicated on HD screens throughout the concourse. One of the unique features of the park is the organ, held in an operations room on the press level. It is the original Hammond organ from Rosenblatt Stadium and was restored when the CWS moved.
The ballpark is located near downtown Omaha, a few blocks to the north of Omaha’s “Old Market” district, a few blocks east of Creighton’s campus, and just west of the Missouri River/Iowa border. Immediately surrounding the park are several restaurants and hotels, the CenturyLink Center (home of Creighton basketball), and thousands of parking spaces.
Creighton University is the other tenant of TD Ameritrade Park, as the baseball team plays all of their home games there. The Big Ten held its baseball tournament there in in 2014 and 2016 and has signed on to do so again each year 2018-2022. The ballpark has also hosted USA Baseball, the MVC baseball tournament, football games including the former professional team Omaha Nighthawks, ice hockey games, music festivals and more.