College Softball on a Roll

LSU College Softball

College Softball on a Roll

College softball’s other season begins the weekend of May 17-19. That’s when 64 teams will all be after the same thing---a berth in the prestigious Women’s College World Series, May 30-June 5 in Oklahoma City. Unfortunately, only eight teams will earn a berth to OKC and a chance to compete for college’s softball national championship.

Between this weekend and  May 30, a lot can happen and often does. A player could go into a slump, another player could suffer an injury or another could snap out of a batting slump this weekend. Who knows what could happen, but it’s the time of the year when these 64 teams hope they peak at the right time and earn a berth in OKC.  It’s the event that is special for the seniors on these 64 teams because they would like to end their college careers playing in OKC to determine the best in college softball for 2013. The underclassmen on the various teams will have other years to pursue a spot in the championship while the seniors know it’s now or never for a spot in OKC, which has become the Mecca of college softball.

The WCWS has had its share of special moments and unforgettable  games through the years and the seniors certainly would like to leave a legacy for future softball players to reflect on in the years ahead.

After drawing a record attendance last year of 75,960, all indications point toward another record-breaking attendance in OKC, and future plans call for renovations to upgrade and expand the seating as  well as add corporate suites, additional media  areas, improved player and fan amenities and an overall upgrade to the stadium.  The average increase in attendance over the past four years has been approximately eight percent per year with the 2012 increase at 13 percent.

The All Sports Association, which is the host organization of the WCWS, is hopeful of getting a long term contract once the renovations and upgrades are completed in the near future, with the cost estimated at $20 million. Over the past five to seven years, the WCWS has become one of the NCAA’s five fastest growing events and certainly one of its most visible with numerous people watching the event on ESPN or ESPN2 if they can’t attend in person. Those who do attend certainly have been loyal with 47 of the 50 states represented in 2012 with a total of 5,547 all-session tickets purchased with 18 percent of the purchasers from Oklahoma and 82 percent outside the state. Single-session tickets also have sold well with 14,680 single-session tickets purchased in 2012 with 37 percent of the people from Oklahoma and 63 percent from outside the state. Both of the all-session and single-session ticket totals are increases from 2011 when 4,647 all-session and 9,052 single-session tickets were purchased.

Interest in college softball is at an all-time high and it is anticipated that some of the regionals will draw outstanding, if not record, crowds this coming weekend.  This past Saturday, No. 1 ranked OU drew 1,597 people for their second game of a three-game series against archrival Oklahoma State. It was the second-largest crowd this season and the second largest in the history of Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex.  If that’s only an indication of what the crowds will be this weekend in Norman and some of the other college softball hotbeds, then college softball is on a roll leading up to the showdown in OKC, May 30-June 5 and will culminate in OKC in an event that only gets better and better every year for those that play, coach and follow college softball.