Baseball expectations ahead of opening day are high

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Wichita Wind Surge will play in less than 60 days.

Expectations are high for the number of visitors to the baseball complex.

“It may be a bit early to talk about numbers or expectations,” said Wind Surge owner Lou Schwechheimer. “So generating 200 events a year, we expect that we will draw close to one million people from not only Wichita but Kansas and throughout the region. And indeed this becomes the epicenter for a vibrant downtown and a vibrant riverfront that changes the equation.”

Schwechheimer had another announcement on Monday when KSN got a tour of the stadium.

“Too soon really to talk about numbers I think,” added Schwechheimer. “But we’re announcing this week that we are returning the NBC World Series to this very building with another 15 events.”

Schwechheimer adds they have booked three weddings so far with more on the way and there will be movie nights and even football games.

“Friday night lights will be played here,” said Schwechheimer.

City council member Cindy Claycomb says the stadium is a uniquely funded stadium with Community Improvement District status adding money into the city checkbook to pay for the baseball stadium.

“We also will be getting money from naming rights to the stadium,” said Claycomb. “The baseball stadium is one thing, but I think the development around it will be just marvelous. I mean it’s going to be just such a boost for the city. People that don’t like baseball may come down for events that aren’t baseball but maybe just come down for the fun.”

As part of the KSN tour, Schwechheimer showed off the the indoor batting area. That large room will be used for scouts to get merit badges.

And Schwechheimer, who was an Eagle Scout, has a passion for getting the community involved in the stadium.

“The team has committed $10 million into the stadium to make this a state of the art facility, and we want it to be family friendly and easy to afford. The top ticket price here is $15 and for $10 you can put a blanket on the grass and enjoy the whole atmosphere,” said Schwechheimer. “Being a good price point that is affordable is a must. It has to be.”

Lou got started in baseball at an early age in the Boston area, and he says the passion for the game has never left him.

“This is my 40th opening day coming up,” said Schwechheimer. “I am as excited and enthused now as I was 40 years ago. People trust us with their families, and this will become a gathering place.”

“This will be a place, as my grandmother always said, to come and take a break from whatever ails you.”

“Opening day can’t come soon enough.”

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