OGE Energy Field at the USA Softball Hall of Fame Complex – Women’s College World Series
Photos by Michael Davis, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.43
OGE Energy Field at the USA Softball Hall of Fame Complex 2801 NE 50th St Oklahoma City, OK 73111
Year Opened: 1987
NCAA Women’s College World Series
OGE Energy Field at the USA Softball Hall of Fame Complex is a 7,300-seat multi-purpose stadium in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The stadium was renamed in 2017, when the Amateur Softball Association rebranded to USA Softball. Formerly known as ASA Hall of Fame Stadium, the venue is the centerpiece of the USA Softball Hall of Fame Complex, which includes the USA Hall of Fame and Museum. The stadium opened in 1987 and had extensive renovations from September 2013 through 2015. The facility hosts various softball tournaments throughout the year, but none more popular than the NCAA College World Series.
The Women’s College World Series (WCWS) consists of the final 8 women’s college softball teams, advancing from a field of 32 teams, around the country. The NCAA WCWS began in 1982, when the UCLA Bruins defeated the Fresno State Bulldogs 2-0 in 8 innings. The series was first played along with the Men’s College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska from 1982 until 1987, and then moved to Sunnyvale, California from 1988-1989. Oklahoma City has hosted the event every year since 1990, except in 1996 when Columbus, Georgia, in preparation to host Olympic softball in Atlanta, was awarded the NCAA Women’s College World Series. OGE Energy Field at the USA Softball Hall of Fame Complex is also the site for the World Cup of Softball and the Big 12 softball conference championship.
Food & Beverage 4
The food and beverage selections here may not compete with the big league ballparks, but there are plenty of food options around the stadium. There are two permanent concessions buildings, one on each side of the diamond, on the upper concourse. All the ballpark favorites are available – hot dogs, chili cheese, corn dog bites, Frito chili pie, nachos, pretzels, fries, burgers, BBQ sandwiches, chicken tenders, and a walking taco. These items might not sound exciting, but the prices ranging between $3 and $6 can make your wallet smile.
The beverages are Coke products with prices ranging from $3 for the small to $6 for the souvenir cup. Powerade is only $3, while water is $2, and there is also a water station available to fill those empty bottles. The stadium does serve alcohol, however, everyone that wishes to buy alcohol must first get a wrist band. The alcohol selections are simple – either Coors Lite or Miller Lite for $5 (16oz), or Modelo, Corona Premier, or Mike’s Hard (24oz) for $7. There are also food trucks parked behind the outfield bleachers for fans, which keeps you from having to walk all around the stadium for food if your seats are back there. Both sides of the diamond have food trucks as well, with Dippin’ Dots, sno cones, and funnel cake offered. Note that there are no outside food or drinks allowed inside OGE Energy Field at the USA Softball Hall of Fame Complex.
The Women’s College World Series is the final portion of the NCAA Division I Softball Championship for college softball in the United States. The tournament format consists of two four-team double-elimination brackets. The winners of each bracket then compete in a best-of-three series to determine the Division I WCWS National Champion.
The Women’s College World Series surpasses itself on a yearly basis with record crowds. The games are played in sessions with two games per session, except for the best-of-three series and the if-necessary session. OGE Energy Field at the USA Softball Hall of Fame Complex has a dirt infield and a grass outfield surface, with dimension of 200ft along the lines, and 220ft to center field, with the seating behind each dugout reserved for the participating teams.
The atmosphere at WCWS begins as soon as the teams arrive in Oklahoma City. The day before the tournament begins, fans can spend the day at the facility at Open Practice Day, which is free to the public. During the day all teams will showcase the abilities and talents that helped them reach the final 8. There will be autograph sessions by USA Softball players during the day as well. The next day begins with the Women’s College World Series Fan Fest. The fan fest is located outside the stadium, and is situated at the drop off/pick up point for fans using the parking shuttles. The WCWS Fan Fest is a FREE fan fest for fans of all ages! Take part in a variety of activities, including exclusive autograph sessions from ESPN talent such as Beth Mowins, Jessica Mendoza, and Michelle Smith, or enjoy sport activations and product displays, championship merchandise and more! Be at the epicenter of softball fun with events for the entire family.
But as much fun as Fan Fest provides, the games themselves is where the WCWS becomes an amazing experience. Every inning seems to get exciting as the teams compete. There is in-stadium entertainment throughout, with competitions like minor league baseball games thrown in. In addition, the USA Softball team players in the crowd get acknowledged during games and interact with fans. There is also plenty of history in the form of WCWS quizzes shown on the video board, so fans can enjoy re-living past WCWS games. The fans here just simply love softball, and the energy that is created is one of the best atmospheres in sports.
The College World Series has found a permanent home in Oklahoma City’s Adventure District. The district is in the northeast Oklahoma City between the crossroads of Interstates 35 and 44. There isn’t much in the immediate vicinity in terms of restaurants (you can only find eateries like Subway or Sonic) or hotels, however, there are plenty of tourist attractions around the USA Softball Hall of Fame Complex. The complex is across the road from the Oklahoma State Firefighters Museum, and just a short walk from the Oklahoma City Zoo, Science Museum Oklahoma, and Remington Park and Casino. In addition, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum and Cinemark Tinseltown Movie theater are just up the road near Interstate 44. And for the avid golfer, there is the Lincoln Park Golf Course, which has two impressive championship courses.
The heart of downtown Oklahoma City is 7 miles away, which is a short 15-minute drive from the USA Hall of Fame Complex. Bricktown has numerous restaurants and lodging for softball fans, as well as Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, the center of Bricktown and home to the Oklahoma City Dodgers Triple AAA team, who are affiliated with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The restaurants are along Bricktown’s canal (like San Antonio’s Riverwalk) – Mickey Mantle’s Steakhouse, local country singer Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill, Fuzzy Taco Shop, Melting Pot, and Chelinos Mexican all are great places to visit while in Oklahoma City. Also, the Bricktown Brewery and TapWerks Ale House and Café are great spots to enjoy some local made brews. Hampton Inn & Suites, Sheraton Oklahoma City Downtown, or the Renaissance Oklahoma City Convention Center are a few of the many choices for lodging in Oklahoma City. See this link for a list of USA Softball Hall of Fame Complex Hotel Partners.
There is so much to do around Oklahoma City that you won’t see everything in one weekend visit. But while there are a lot of tourist attractions around the complex, however, there isn’t one more popular or more of a must visit than Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum. This museum is the heart and soul for all Americans, and will be a visit that you’ll never forget.
There are 8 participants in the Women’s College World Series. The fans from those 8 participants travel from all over the country to watch their team, family, friends, and daughters play softball, and the games are quickly becoming sell-outs, especially when the local Oklahoma Sooners are one of the participants. Even without the Sooners, there is a dedicated softball fan base that renews season tickets to the Women’s College World Series. A couple of statements from fans: “I don’t have a horse in the race, but I love the way these girls play the game.” and “This is my 12th consecutive year that I have these seats, and I can’t think of any place better.”
The fans are serious, loud, supportive, and truly love being at the event. However, the most impressive thing that I noticed was the genuine appreciation for all the teams and players. No matter what team the fans are rooting for, if a player makes a tough play they are cheered because fans appreciate it.
OGE Energy Field at the USA Softball Hall of Fame Complex is seven miles northeast of downtown Oklahoma City, and 0.1 miles from I-35 off exit 132A (NE 50th Street). The venue will be on your right as you exit, and there is parking on the Hall of Fame grounds for $20, but those passes will sell out, so you can also park across the street and in grass lots near the stadium for a fee. However, the best option is free parking, which is located at Remington Park Racing and Casino about a 1/4-mile from the stadium. A free shuttle bus will pick up at Remington Park on Eastern and Grand Boulevard, and will take fans to and from the stadium. The shuttle bus runs every 10 minutes each day, and will run through the last game after all fans have been dropped off.
The entrance gates are behind home plate, and the flow into the stadium is quick despite possible lines. There are two concourses – the main concourse is above the seating area, as the stadium sits in a bowl, and fans walk an incline up to the gates. Access to the outfield area and bleachers is a little congested, as fans must navigate over a step-bridge from either side of the outfield. The reserved seating has back supports, while the outfield bleachers do not, and this is a difference maker when spending 8 hours at the facility. The main seating area has bathrooms while the outfield bleachers have port-a-potties available for use. The stadium does provide ADA accessible seats, and there is public transportation throughout Oklahoma City on METRO transit.
Overall, access to the stadium, parking, entry, and sitting are quite easy for fans.
Return on Investment 5
The Women’s College World Series has a solid annual ticket fan base. These fans buy All-session tickets and are offered renewal to their seats each year – only after the renewal deposit process is complete are tickets are made available to the public. GP tickets, which are subject to availability, begin in December.
Ticket prices are $25 per session (2-games) except the if-necessary session, which costs $20. Children younger than two years of age do not need a ticket provided they can sit on the lap of a ticketed adult. If the series sells out, $25 standing room only tickets are available on game day at the box office (there is no advance selling of SRO tickets). However, WCWS reserved seats are sold by third-party resellers. The free parking, low cost concessions, top-level softball competition, and a fun-filled atmosphere ranks this event as a must visit for any sports fan.
The amazing overall atmosphere that USA Softball promotes in the volunteers, event staff, access to the teams, and the teams themselves is great to see. The Women’s College World Series is well-organized and promotes everything that is good in the sport of softball. The return on investment, atmosphere, and the quality of the participants creates a tournament that is truly one of the best trips to visit in the country for a sports fan.
There is a lot to see in the Oklahoma City area, however, the atmosphere during the Women’s College World Series is incredible. The atmosphere, fans, and great softball are so mesmerizing that a day trip will turn into a weekend trip because the place will just grab hold of you. The success of the WCWS in Oklahoma continues to grow in numbers, so much that there are plans to continue upgrading the fan experience at OGE Energy Field at the USA Softball Hall of Fame Complex – in 2020, a renovation plan to add an upper deck to the stadium is proof the game of softball is growing, and that Oklahoma City is the capital of the softball world.