Big 12 Baseball Championship May Leave OKC

Friday, May 22nd 2009, 6:59 pm
By: News On 6

By Amy Lester, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Big 12 Baseball Tournament is in town at the Bricktown Ballpark, but the teams in the tournament aren't the only ones competing.

If people don't come out and fill the seats, Oklahoma City could eventually lose the event. Plenty of cities want it, including Tulsa.

Oklahoma State University is not playing in the tournament and is likely part of the reason attendance is down.

"Anytime you have a storied program like Oklahoma State and a traditional fan base like they have, you're going to have your event impacted so it is down a little bit," said Tim Brassfield with the Oklahoma City All-Sports Association.

An average 5,000 people have been out to each game. University of Oklahoma games draw more, about 9,000. The numbers are still a bit disappointing.

"We need to treat the Big 12 Baseball Championships like we treat the women's College World Series, that is, that this community supports it regardless of what teams have made the field," Mayor Mick Cornett said.

While Oklahoma City has hosted the championship 34 out of the past 36 years, two years it went to Dallas, that doesn't mean it'll definitely stay in Oklahoma City.

"Let's just say I'm not naive about it," Cornett said. "I know there are other cities out there that would like to have it."

One of those cities is Tulsa.

"As soon as that becomes available, we'll compete for that," said Mike Dodson with the Tulsa Sports Commission.

With a new ballpark in the works, the city wants its chance.

"With any sports championship event organizers are looking for places that are convenient, that are affordable, have good facilities, have a strong reputation for hospitality," Dodson said. "Tulsa has all those."

Dallas, Houston, Denver and Omaha are other spots city leaders expect to compete for the championship, but they believe Oklahoma City will win.

"We're set up to succeed, we're set up to get this event year after year after year, but we're going to have to support it, we're going to have to support it regardless of whether we have any local teams in the tournament," Cornett said.

The mayor says things like the Bricktown Ballpark and the nearby hotels and restaurants make Oklahoma City a perfect place for the Big 12 Championship.