Historic Rosenblatt gives way to TD Ameritrade
Posted by ZA on June 16, 2009
Right now one of the best, and least heralded, sporting events in the World is occurring at a stadium in the heartland of America. The 2009 College World Series is being played at historic Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Nebraska. The College World Series, or CWS as it is commonly called, is the postseason tournament to decide the NCAA Division I Champion from men’s college baseball. The tournament brings together 8 of the best teams to compete in a double elimination tournament. What makes it so great is the emotion these teams and their fans display; the emotions that come out when you have reached your goal (Omaha) and have the championship in sight.
Every division I college baseball player, fan and coach starts the season with one goal in-mind. That goal is to get to Omaha for the College World Series. Teams typically play a 40+ game regular season schedule and then a dozen postseason games just to try to earn a spot in the CWS field. So naturally those fortunate few that make the trip to historic Rosenblatt Stadium are excited to be there. That excitement comes through as a tangle buzz of emotion that surrounds each game. And Rosenblatt Stadium is the grand, old ballpark that plays host to that excitement.
For over 50 years the CWS has been played at Rosenblatt Stadium on the outskirts of Omaha. Rosenblatt is full of stories about great teams, players or moments that occurred on that field. It is one of those stadiums that you say ‘if these walls could talk’ because you know it would tell a ton of great stories.
But very soon, that is all going to end. No, not the College World Series. That will continue on in Omaha through at least 2035, thanks to a new deal with the NCAA. But the games will no longer be played at historic Rosenblatt Stadium.
The City of Omaha is currently building a new $128 million dollar stadium that will become the new home of the CWS in 2011. The new stadium will be located in downtown Omaha and will more closely resemble a modern professional baseball stadium. That means the stadium will have higher priced club seating and luxury suites, which bring in more revenue. Following another tradition common with professional stadiums; the new stadium will have a corporate sponsor paying for the naming rights to the stadium. TD Ameritrade announced on June 10th that they would be to be the title sponsor of the new ballpark, paying approximately $20 million over the next 20 years. That means the new home of the College World Series in Omaha will be named TD Ameritrade Park, not Rosenblatt Stadium.
As sad as I am to see Rosenblatt Stadium put out to pasture, I understand this is how sports work today. Sports are a revenue generating venture, so it is necessary for Omaha (and the NCAA) to upgrade the facility to make more money on the CWS. Part of that money will be made from the aforementioned venue naming rights. Although it would be great to still have games played at a stadium named for Johnny Rosenblatt, there is a great opportunity with TD Ameritrade. TD Ameritrade stepped up to the plate to support this venue and thereby the event that will be played there each June. They should be commended for their investment, and I believe their $1 million per year will be well worth it in the exposure they receive. Their name is now linked to one of the best events in college sports and will be on the lips of media around the country. So it’s easy to see how they will recoup their annual investment in the CWS.
But it will be sad to longer see games after 2010 CWS at Rosenblatt. Since I was a kid I have memories of games there. And there are thousands of fans who have great memories of games at Rosenblatt, that will have to remain memories…because the reality is that after next season there will be no more CWS games played at Rosenblatt. A great legend of sports will be leaving us, but hopefully it will be adequately replaced by the new venue.