NBC World Series will return to downtown

By Taylor Eldridge The Wichita Eagle (TNS)

After a two-year hiatus, the National Baseball Congress World Series is returning to downtown Wichita this summer.

In partnership with the Wichita Wind Surge, the NBC announced on Monday afternoon that the championship week of the 2021 World Series will be played at Riverfront Stadium from August 9-14.

"To get back downtown to our old stomping grounds, it's so great and exciting to get this announcement out there," NBC general manager Kevin Jenks told The Eagle. "It's basically on the same footprint as Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, which was our home for so many years. Throw in the fact it's a brand-new stadium and the grass is as green as green can be and it's a double-whammy on the positive side for us."

The 16-team, double-elimination tournament will begin the week prior, from August 4-8, in Hutchinson at Hobart-Detter Field, which hosted a handful of first-week games last summer when Wichita State's Eck Stadium was the primary host.

Now teams will have to win twice in Hutchinson to punch their ticket to championship week at the brand-new, $75 million stadium in Wichita.

Tickets go on sale for both locations on Tuesday, June 8 through NBCBaseball.com with open seating prices starting at $12.

Tickets must be purchased online-only, as the tournament will operate a cash-less system much like the Wind Surge do. Due to schedules still being affected by the coronavirus pandemic, Jenks said the field won't be the usual 30 or 32 teams this summer but he hopes to return to a full field for the 2022 edition. Now that a relationship has formed between the NBC and the Wind Surge, Jenks says he believes the World Series has found a permanent home for its championship week. "I don't see it ever ending," Jenks said. "We've been respectful of what they've had to go through in so many ways. It's been a topsy-turvy year for everyone and I think when the dust settles, it will be really good for both sides. We anticipate having a long-term relationship with them and it's important for the NBC to have a strong relationship with the Wind Surge. We want to do everything we can to be good partners."