Opening Day at the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. Fans from all over the country making their way into TD Ameritrade Park to see the first pitch.
Kids should be running around with their parents to all the different pop-up shops and tents to buy a hat with their favorite team or the shirt with all eight teams and the words, “The Greatest Show on Dirt.”
Fans should be celebrating at The Blatt Beer and Table’s rooftop parties and at The Old Mattress Factory. LOT D should be filled with the same tailgaters who come every summer even if their team did not make it to Omaha.
Instead, Lot D will be filled with a line of cars anxiously waiting to see their test results for COVID-19.
Thirteenth Street will be silent. Pop-up tents, cotton candy vendors, and Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority ushers will not be greeting fans as they have walked past the statue of cheering players on the bottom with the words engraved “THE ROAD TO OMAHA.” Instead, Omaha will feel the silence of no baseball as well as taking on the brunt of a seventy-million dollar loss.
“In terms of jobs, in terms of income, growth and spending, and so on a lot of local businesses, particularly downtown here where the venue is, some of their best business weeks are during the College World Series,” said Chris Decker, Professor of Economics at the University of Nebraska Omaha. “It’s the best time of the year for them in terms of their business revenue. It’s gonna be hard not to have that. It’s kind of a storm, we have to weather.”
The cancelation of the CWS is impacting individuals, along with businesses. “Well, you know, usually it’s this time when we’d be putting a few hundred part-time event staffers to work each series. MECA staffs about 300 people,” said Kristyna Engdahl, Director of Communication at MECA. “Levy, our concessionaires, has another 500 at TD Ameritrade Park. So between us, the NCAA and CWS of Omaha, all total, there are usually about 1500 people working the event.”
The College World Series is expected to return to Omaha in June 2021 and so will the dedicated baseball fans.
TYLER FANGMAN REPORT