Lots of Nebraska games gives Big Ten tournament a major attendance boost

Nebraska's game against Ohio State drew a crowd of 17,503 on Sunday in Omaha.

A lot of Nebraska translated into an attendance boost at the Big Ten tournament this week.

It wasn’t a perfect scenario for Husker fans to come to TD Ameritrade Park — their team played at 9 p.m. Wednesday and 9 a.m. Friday after a Thursday postponement. But it ended with ideal weather at an ideal time on the Sunday of a holiday weekend.

The final crowd for the Huskers and Ohio State was 17,503 — second-best in college baseball this spring.

The five-day total added up to 47,790 in 15 games. That is up from last year’s 12,404, when the Huskers didn’t qualify for the event in Omaha, Iowa was a quick out and there were two fewer games.

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But both numbers still dwarfed recent years when the tournament was not at the home of the College World Series. The 2017 edition at Indiana’s home field in Bloomington drew 6,712, and the 2015 version at Target Field in Minneapolis attracted 7,384.

The Big Ten expanded to an eight-team tourney format in 2014, and that inaugural event in Omaha remains the best attended at 62,044 in 13 games. The final between Nebraska and Indiana brought 19,965, the largest single-game conference tournament crowd in NCAA history.

Omaha will continue to host the league tournament through at least 2022.

Evan Bland covers Nebraska football, baseball and other sports for The World-Herald. Follow him on Twitter @EvanBlandOWH.

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