Creighton University and the Metropolitan Entertainment & Convention Authority have announced an agreement for Creighton to play baseball at the new downtown baseball stadium.
The 10-year agreement begins in the year 2011, which is when TD Ameritrade Park Omaha is scheduled to open. In 2011, Creighton will play some of its home games at the stadium. All of the home games will be played beginning the year 2012. There's an option for a 5-year extension.
Creighton's President Reverend John Schlegel says playing home games at the downtown stadium "will be potent in the recruiting and retaining of Creighton baseball players."
Along with the huge benefit to Creighton athletics, Schlegel says it's a win for downtown Omaha, the economy and college baseball in general. But is it a win for taxpayers?
Creighton will pay a $10,000 flat fee per game at the new stadium, and with 25 home games slated for 2012, that adds up to a quarter of a million dollars.
"Just the College World Series alone, the facility pays for itself. This is an added plus that we have Creighton now as another anchor tenant," says MECA President and CEO Roger Dixon.
And more tenants may follow Creighton's lead. Dixon says the possibility of national teams playing exhibition games and an independent league are both still on the table.
MECA also plans to bid to host the Missouri Valley Conference tournament as well as College World Series regional and super-regional games.
So the idea that the stadium will only get used 2 weeks out of the year can be dismissed...almost.
"It is a baseball stadium. It’s going to be active during the summer months, but there are going to be times of the year where there’s not a lot we can do when it’s cold outside," Dixon says.