April 25, 2019

Essential Guide To The College World Series Omaha

Every June, the NCAA Men’s College World Series sweeps into Omaha. If you’ve never been to a game, it’s a whirlwind. Here’s the most comprehensive guide to going to a CWS came, with everything you need to know before you go, including tips for tailgating and getting game tickets, plus what to do in the event of bad weather.

I’ve interviewed a few College World Series regulars, the “pros” that have been going to games for years. Some of their tips are included in this post.

Planning to go to the College World Series held each June in Omaha, Nebraska? Here's a guide to all the need-to-know information: How to get tickets, where to park, how to get to the game, and where to tailgate. Plus, read locals' tips on CWS activities from parking to where to sit.

When is the CWS this year?

In 2019, games will be held June 15 through June 25/26, depending on how the championship game series goes.

The teams playing this year are Texas Tech, Michigan, Arkansas, Florida State, Vanderbilt, Louisville, Mississippi State and Auburn. Get a printable bracket here.

2019 CWS schedule with CST times:

Game 1: Saturday, June 15 at 1 p.m. (Texas Tech vs. Michigan)

Game 2: Saturday, June 15 at 6 p.m. (Arkansas vs. Florida State)

Game 3: Sunday, June 16 at 1 p.m. (Vanderbilt vs. Louisville)

Game 4: Sunday, June 16 at 6:30 p.m. (Mississippi State vs. Auburn)

Game 5: Monday, June 17 at 1 p.m. (Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2)

Game 6: Monday, June 17 at 6 p.m. (Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2)

Game 7: Tuesday, June 18 at 1 p.m. (Loser Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4)

Game 8: Tuesday, June 18 at 6 p.m. (Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4)

Game 9: Wednesday, June 19 at 6 p.m. (Winner Game 5 vs. Loser Game 6)

Game 10: Thursday, June 20 at 7 p.m. (Winner Game 7 vs. Loser Game 8)

Game 11: Friday, June 21 at 1 p.m. (Winner Game 6 vs. Winner Game 9)

Game 12: Friday, June 21 at 6 p.m. (Winner Game 8 vs. Winner Game 10)

Games 13 and 14 (if necessary): Saturday, June 22 at 1 and 6 p.m.

Finals Game 1: Monday, June 24 at 6 p.m.

Finals Game 2: Tuesday, June 25 at 6 p.m.

Finals Game 3 (if necessary): Wednesday, June 26 at 6 p.m.

Where can you get tickets?

Guide to the College World Series - Tips on tickets, tailgating and eating at the NCAA CWS in Omaha, Nebraska
The College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha. Photo courtesy Nebraska Tourism

General admission ticket books, which contain 10 general admission tickets for the 2019 NCAA Men’s College World Series, are available through TicketMaster. They are already available. In April, you should start seeing these ticket books sold at local grocery stores like Hy-Vee and Bakers, as well as service clubs and the CHI Health Center Omaha’s box office (near TD Ameritrade Park Omaha). Individual General Admission tickets are sold at the box office for $15 each.

Reserved seats went on sale April 13, 2019.

One step up from reserved seats is the NCAA Experience, with packages that include hospitality extras like pre-game tented lounge with food and cash bar (among many other nice perks).

There are season tickets to the CWS, and those become available in mid-January. Some people hold onto their season tickets for decades.

Here’s the NCAA ticketing page for more information and links to buy tickets. This is also the page to people to sell their unneeded tickets.

Pro Tip: Want to attend an evening game? Make sure your seats aren’t facing the sun. Most of the General Admission seats will be facing the sun. – Jamie H.

Things to know about CWS General Admission tickets

General Admission tickets are the most affordable way to see a College World Series game.

The audience tends to be younger.

It’s important to note that General Admission tickets don’t guarantee a seat! Most games won’t be a problem, but big games like the opening weekend or finals, things could be tight. When it is at capacity, they admit people in a “one in, one out” basis. General Admission seats about 5, 500 fans, with about 1,500 extra spots for standing room people.

If you’re determined to snag a seat in General Admission, get in line early. At the very least, arrive when gates open (two hours before game time). Some say to get there even earlier for big games.

The queue begins on the sidewalk adjacent to 10th Street. There will be stadium staff at the front of the line and at the end of the line. You’ll most likely enter the stadium through Gate 3, though occasionally you may be directed to enter through Gate 4.

On two-game days, if you have General Admission tickets to the second game, keep in mind the first game could go long. If that’s the case, expect the line to be longer and the gates to less than two hours before the game.

And speaking of two-game days, you cannot go to the first game and stick around in General Admission for the second game. The stadium is cleared out after each game. You’ll have to get back in line.

You may be able to upgrade your general admission. Available Reserved Seats open up when the box office opens at 10 a.m. Get in line before 9 a.m. on game day and cross your fingers – they will do a random drawing to set the order fans line up.

Tip: Be patient. Even the most popular games, you will get in eventually, if only after a few innings.

Tip 2: General Admission is less stressful during games held on weekdays.  

Getting to a CWS game

Expect traffic (for Omaha standards) and some drivers getting confused by one-way streets in some parts of downtown Omaha. Parking is sparse and expensive, so I’d recommend finding alternative ways to get to a game.

The CWS Stadium Circulator is a popular choice and it’s only 25 cents a ride. Pickup locations include: Some downtown hotels, the ballpark, Fan Fest, and spots in the Old Market. Here’s what the 2018 route looked like.

Additionally, the Omaha bus service has standard routes that pass by TD Ameritrade Park. Look up that information here.

Omaha has a bike-share program, just look for the blue bikes at a B-station throughout downtown Omaha.

Omaha also has ride-share options like Lyft and Uber.

Where to park for the College World Series

I get it. You’re planning on driving (and maybe tailgating, right?). You’ll find parking for nearly 4,000 cars near TD Ameritrade Park, though some will be for season ticket and pass-holders. Public parking Lot A and the CHI Health Center garage are one of the closest options, and that will set you back about $10-$12 a car.  You’ll find ADA parking there, and additional ADA parking stalls in Lot B. Tailgating is permitted in TD Amertrade Park and CHI Health Center lots. Lots open at 8 a.m. and close about 90 minutes after the event.

Additional parking that also allows tailgating can be found at Creighton University.

Motor homes or RVs are not allowed in most of the parking lots. You can find parking for RVs around the Omaha metro including, Haworth Park, Lake Cunningham, N.P. Dodge Park and West Omaha KOA. Outside of Omaha, there are spots at Horseshoe RV Park, Lake Manawa, Mahoney State Park,Riverwest Park, Walnut Creek Lake and Wilds RV and Golf Resort.

The City of Omaha has surface parking and parkings lots, as well as metered spots. Pricing varies. I recommend downloading the Park Omaha app and paying for your metered parking by phone.

Tailgating at the College World Series

You’ll find no shortage of tailgating opportunities in the blocks near the stadium. Be sure to know the rules or you can get into trouble (ie. open containers are prohibited and you will get ticketed).

Another thing to know is that the MECA-controlled lots near TD Ameritrade Park open two hours before CWS events start. (MECA is an acronym for Metropolitan Entertainment & Convention Authority, which manages the stadium).

The MECA parking lots are located:

– The closest lots to TD Ameritrade Park are Lot C, 10th and Mike Fahey streets, and Lot B, located along 10th Street between Mike Fahey and Cass streets.

– The other two lots are Lot A, just south of CHI Health Center and accessible by Riverfront Drive (by CHI Health Center), and Lot D, just north of CHI Health Center and accessible only by Abbott Drive.

– The MECA-controlled parking garage is just south of CHI Health Center on 10th Street.

The cost of parking in a CHI Health parking lot is $8 and garage parking is $12. You cannot do in-and-out parking.

Pro Tip: “Tailgating is pretty much in every direction from the stadium. You can also reserve a tailgating spot online.”  – Madonna B.

Tips for going to the College World Series - Get information about tailgating before CWS games in Omaha, Nebraska
Madonna and a friend tailgating before a game during the College World Series in downtown Omaha. Photo courtesy Madonna B.

What to bring to a CWS game

Things you can bring to the game:

  • – Cameras are permitted, but the need to have a lense shorter than 1 inch and you can’t bring additional, detachable lenses.
  • – You can bring one clear plastic bottle for water, per guest. And it has to be 20 oz. or smaller.
  • – You bring must everything in a clear bag.
  • – If you bring a stroller, it has to be small enough to fit under your seat.

Things you can’t bring:

  • – Any purse or clutch larger than 4.5 inches by 6.5 inches is not allowed. Absolutely no large purses, backpacks or fanny packs are allowed.
  • – Carrying a concealed weapon is prohibited at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha, even lawfully concealed firearms.
  • – Seat cushions with pockets
  • – Bubbles or bubble making machines
  • – Bottles or cans; Food or Drink coolers, Yeti cups or coolers
  • – Outside food or drink
  • – Frisbees or beach balls
  • – Large umbrellas
  • – Laser pointers
  • – Noise making devices of any kind (i.e. bells, whistles, horns, etc.)
  • – Fireworks
  • – Drones, anywhere on MECA campus
  • – Selfie sticks
  • – Hover boards
  • – Illegal drugs and alcohol
  • – Commercial signs or banners without the prior approval of TD Ameritrade Park Omaha
  • – Any item deemed to challenge public safety

Pro Tip: Don’t carry a big or heavy purse to the game. Most clear bags aren’t going to be heavy to begin with, but don’t overpack them. – Jamie H.

Pro Tip 2: Pack sunscreen or put it on before you go to the game. “A hat and sunglasses are essential.” – Jamie H.

Things to know about rain delays at the CWS

It never fails, there will be bad weather at some point during the run of the College World Series. If you have a rain delay, here’s what you should know:

  • – If you’re sitting in General Admission, talk to a staff member before – leaving the ballpark.
  • – Tickets are good for the game only. If that game gets a new time or day, your ticket is still only good for that game. If your game has started and then is delayed, your ticket will be marked and/or scanned for use during the new start time. Hold on to that ticket!
  • – No game is skipped. So if the game you’re attending is affected by bad weather, and the date is changed, the rescheduled game will still occur before any future games.  
  • – Because all parking passes are by day, if a game is moved to a new day, they also will be accepted. If a lot becomes full due to the change in date, an alternate lot will be made available upon your arrival at that gate.
  • – Stay in the know: Follow #CollegeWorldSeries or visit the CWS News page on NCAA.com/CWS for weather updates.

Eating and drinking at the game

You cannot bring in outside food and drinks to the College World Series. So, you’ll have to get your food there. There’s the usual hot dogs, burgers and pizza options, of course. Here’s a list of what food was available during College World Series games in 2018 (I’ll update it as soon as they have 2019 items).

Evening game at TD Ameritrade Park. Every June, the NCAA Men's College World Series is held at the ballpark in downtown Omaha, Nebraska. Here's a guide to attending the College World Series.
Photo courtesy Omaha Convention & Visitors Bureau

If you’re wondering where to eat or drink between games, check out this post with details on recommended restaurants and bars are near the stadium.

Things to know about Opening Weekend of CWS

Many people think Opening Weekend is THE time to go to a game at the College World Series. Every team and their fans are hopeful. It’s one of the busiest weekends in the Old Market. It’s fun…unless you don’t like crowds.

There’s usually a great free concert near the stadium on Opening Night.

Pro tip: “Opening Weekend!! It is the best because all teams and fans are in town and everyone is very excited. The tailgating is the best opening weekend.” – Madonna B.

Fan Fest Information

Fan Fest starts on Opening Weekend, too. Fan Fest is a free zone with games, merchandise and photo opportunities. This is a great place to visit with kids, even if you don’t have tickets to a game.

The Fan Fest schedule:

Opening Day – 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

June 15-18 – 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

June 19 – 3:30 to 6 p.m.

June 20 – 4:30 to 7 p.m.

June 21 – 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

June 22 – TBD

June 24 & 25 (and 26, if needed – 3:30 to 6 p.m.

Things to know about TD Ameritrade Park

TD Amertriade Park Omaha, 1200 Mike Fahey St., has been the home to the NCAA Men’s College World Series since 2011. The ballpark seats 24,000. If you want to see a layout of the ballpark, click here.

Is TD Ameritrade Park ADA accessible?

Yes. There are three accessible entrances. For an elevator, use Gate 2 near the ticket windows, or the Suite/Club entrance located south of Gate 1 on 13th Street. The Gate 3 is accessible by ramp and is located on the east side of the stadium.

Guide dogs are permitted in the park. It’s recommended that you bring proof of certification or a license for service animals. Notify your ticket seller at the time of purchase so you can get an aisle seat.

Guide to the College World Series in Omaha Nebraska | Essential information for attending CWS games | How to get tickets to the College World Series | Tailgating at the College World Series | Things you should know about visiting Omaha during the College World Series #baseball #Nebraska #sports

More College World Series Information

Need a hotel for your trip to the College World Series? Read this post of recommended hotels near the stadium.

If you want to start planning food options because you’re going to be traveling with your kiddos, begin with this post about family-friendly restaurants in downtown Omaha. For a more general overview of the best restaurants near the baseball stadium, visit this post.

Stay In The Know!

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