The NCAA Women’s College World Series will remain in Oklahoma City through 2020 and significant improvements to the Amateur Softball Association Hall of Fame Stadium will be made during that time that could enable the championship to extend its stay through 2035, under the terms of a deal announced by the NCAA and the city.
“ASA/USA Softball is extremely proud and privileged to be here in Oklahoma City,” said ASA/USA Softball Executive Director Craig Cress. “The sport of softball is a team sport, and the efforts and improvements that have been made are truly a team effort. We’re grateful for our partnership with the city of Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma City All-Sports Association and the NCAA. We’re thankful to be able to host this great event.”
In addition, ASA/USA Softball and the Oklahoma City All-Sports Association announced they have entered into a 20-year agreement with OGE Energy Corp. for the naming rights to the stadium field at the softball complex. The new name for the field—OGE Energy Field at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium—will launch with the start of the 2014 NCAA Women’s College World Series.
The extension to keep the NCAA event in Oklahoma City includes a four-phase renovation process to improve facilities for student-athletes, access for media and hospitality for fans. A new television compound has also been completed. The city is currently in the process of improving and enlarging dugouts, team rooms and training rooms attached to dugouts—improvements that were completed before the start of the 2014 Women’s College World Series. The next phase for 2015 includes expanded press boxes, a new building for game operations and upgraded guest service areas. Future phases include expanded concessions, a new concourse and ticket area and an upper deck that will add 4,200 additional seats to the stadium.
“The NCAA is committed to ensuring the optimum experience for the student-athletes competing in our championships,” said Mark Lewis, NCAA executive vice-president of championships and alliances. “This long-term agreement with Oklahoma City enables us to take the time to improve the facilities to ensure an even better experience for student-athletes and fans alike.”
All of the women’s softball championships (with the exception of 1996) have been held at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium, with fan attendance increasing over the years. The record for highest overall attendance was in 2012 at 75,960. The championship game in 2013, won by the University of Oklahoma, was the highest-attended championship game, with 8,527 fans.