Bigger crowds at this year's College World Series could put TD Ameritrade Park in the black for the first time in its history.
While the City of Omaha is making steady progress in paying down debt on the $131 million facility, the downtown stadium has yet to turn a profit. Now in its third year of operation, TD Ameritrade has proved successful as a host of the CWS but has seen mixed results with other events.
Last year, the stadium made $4.5 million during the series. But once the bills had been paid — to bondholders, to the NCAA, to the people and companies that keep the park running — the venue had a net loss of $122,668. It was an improvement from the park's first fiscal year loss of $803,000 but still not the result the city and the Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority wanted.
It's too soon to tell exactly how this fiscal year, which ends June 30, will shake out. But Roger Dixon, MECA's president and CEO, said the combined boost of February's hockey double-header and higher attendance at the CWS is “promising” for the park's year-end financial situation.
Total attendance at this year's series was 341,483. That's up from last year's total of 326,734 — which even had one more game than this year's event.
“We hope to become more successful as we get more events ... but the numbers we're doing this year on the CWS are substantially better than what we've done last year,” he said.
Following a final CWS at Rosenblatt Stadium in 2010, TD Ameritrade Park opened in spring 2011.
The new park was funded primarily with bonds taken out by the city — $98 million worth — while private donors picked up the rest of the bill and chipped in another $12 million to help the Henry Doorly Zoo purchase Rosenblatt. The ballpark's operations are funded from three main sources: ticket sales; other stadium revenues, including naming rights, sales of club suites and advertising; and money generated from increases in hotel taxes.
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