Today's Omaha World-Herald discusses a new Omaha baseball stadium in a copyright article by their own Odd Couple: political writer C. David Kotok and sports columnist Tom Shatel. Certainly an interesting and groundbreaking idea...but is it a good idea?
First of all, how feasible is it to build a stadium that triples in size with temporary seating? The infastructure needs to support 25,000 fans, not 9,000. Will the stadium still be appealing on national television for a College World Series game, yet still be appealing to fans desiring a more intimate experience for a Royals game?
I'm skeptical that a new stadium is going to solve the Royals problems. Certainly if the Royals feel that it's tough to convince fans to buy tickets, I don't see how a move downtown which requires fans to pay $6 to park is going to help them. The Qwest Center recently surveyed Omaha area residents and 46% of respondents mentioned parking as the biggest problem with the new arena.
On the other hand, Rosenblatt is going to need some serious infrastructure improvents to continue to support the College World Series. It may make sense to start over from scratch rather than try to piecemeal improvements during the offseason. Downtown may prove to be a better location to hold the CWS....fans can walk from hotels to restaurants to the stadium. And vacating Rosenblatt might provide Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo with room to expand this tourist attraction, much like replacing the decaying Civic Auditorium with a new UNO Coliseum near Ak-Sar-Ben would open prime downtown real estate for economic expansion.
In my opinion, the needs of the Omaha Royals are the least important in this project. The needs of the College World-Series and the Henry Doorly Zoo are much more important. If the Royals can benefit without harming the CWS, the Zoo, or the taxpayers of Omaha, that's great.