With the 2019 College World Series, Omaha showed once again that it’s a top-flight sports host city. TD Ameritrade Park operates at a high standard to accommodate the ballgames and related events. Omaha hotels, retail shops and other amenities have much experience in serving CWS visitors.
The 2019 CWS attendance totaled 332,054, a bit below the 2018 figure of 333,482, but the series’ continuing importance to the Omaha economy is quite significant, about $70 million. This economic boost, year after year, is a major plus for businesses and for Omaha’s vitality as a community.
And as World-Herald reporting noted at the start of the series, a $70 million impact from a sporting event is “a stratosphere reserved for major national and international sporting events.” Omaha can take pride in achieving an impact on that impressive scale.
Encouraging, too, were the ESPN ratings: Finals Game No. 1 hit a seven-year high rating. The concluding final game, with a Vanderbilt victory over Michigan, was the highest-rated and most-watched Finals Game No. 3 since 2014, delivering the third-largest CWS audience overall since 2014. Plus, Finals Game No. 3 outdrew every Major League Baseball game on ESPN this season. So far this year, the CWS accounted for three of ESPN’s top four baseball audiences.
The pre-CWS festivities this year kicked off with a special event: the first MLB game ever hosted in Omaha. A packed house of 25,454 filled TD Ameritrade Park for the Royals vs. Tiger match-up, with the Royals’ Nicky Lopez, a former Creighton Bluejay, starting the scoring with a solo home run.
Some 32 MLB players were born in Omaha, including Hall of Famers Bob Gibson and Wade Boggs.
The Royals/Tigers game set the stage well for the CWS, which once again brought many familiar teams, and their fans, back to Omaha. One of those familiar teams is Florida State, whose coach, Mike Martin, is retiring after 40 seasons as the all-time wins leaders among NCAA baseball coaches and also the all-time wins leader across all NCAA sports.
As Omahans ponder and prepare for the 2020 CWS, they can be cheered by what Martin — a perennial coaching figure at the CWS — has described as his four favorite words:
“See you in Omaha!”