WICHITA, Kansas – Wichita State was buzzing with baseball fans Friday night. Eight teams have been in Wictown playing in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. But, with rainy cold weather predicted this weekend, does WSU run the risk of losing money if fans don’t show up?
Even with the shockers playing Friday afternoon, the crowd was pretty light due to the cold weather. So, we wanted to know, if the bad weather keeps the fans away this weekend, could it hurt Wichita State financially?
“We have great fans that come. And again, weather affects that. We pay attention to all of that,” said Wichita State Athletic Director Eric Sexton. “We hope that people continue to come out and watch the games, but again we understand that there’s weather issues.
WSU officials say the bad weather is something they’ll just have to deal with this weekend at Eck Stadium.
“Well you have professionals pay attention to the weather and what we do is try to provide first class experience, but it’s an outdoor sport,” Sexton said.
As the host team for the MVC Tourney, Wichita State is counting on its fans to turn out for the games but, they’re also hoping the visiting fans of the other 7 teams will spend their money in Wichita.
“We understand that there’s weather issues and we’ll deal with those things. We try to provide a great championship,” said Sexton.
Hotels, restaurants and other businesses near campus should benefit from having the MVC Tourney back at Wichita State, for the first time since 2010.
MVC officials say there’s several reasons why the tourney is back in town.
“Just all the infrastructure here. They’re great people, they’ve run NCAA regionals here before, they’ve got great volunteer base as well as their staff is impeccable,” said MVC Associate Commissioner Jack Watkins.
The cold weather didn’t keep fans like Steve Eaton away, he’s cheering on his kids.
“It’s awesome. It’s kind of a dream full-filled for him,” Eaton said. “Certainly want to see your kids have their dreams full-filled.”
The school is counting on die-hard fans like Steve to stick it out this weekend when the weather turns cold.
We should know the final attendance numbers for the tournament by Sunday. Teams have been playing through the rain Friday, but if severe weather does happen school officials say they’ll take steps to keep the fans safe.