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NBC World Series Tournament Returning To Downtown Wichita

Nadya Faulx
Riverfront Stadium will host part of this summer's NBC World Series tournament.

The NBC World Series is returning to its roots in downtown Wichita this summer.

After starting in Hutchinson, the final six days of the 11-day baseball tournament will be played at the new Riverfront Stadium.

“This is where the NBC should be: in downtown Wichita,” said Jordan Kobritz, CEO of the Wichita Wind Surge, Riverfront Stadium’s primary tenant.

The first NBC World Series — featuring future baseball Hall of Famer Satchel Paige — was played at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium in 1935. The stadium was built specifically to host the tournament. It remained there until 2018, when Lawrence-Dumont was torn down to make way for Riverfront Stadium.

The 2019 World Series was played at Wichita State University; it was played at WSU and Hutchinson’s Hobart-Detter Stadium last summer.

“For two years, we were kind of a traveling circus,” said NBC Tournament Director Kevin Jenks.

This year, the World Series will be played in Hutchinson from Aug. 4-8 and in Wichita from Aug. 9-14.

The 16-team field — including a team from Puerto Rico — will play a double-elimination format. The teams include collegiate and semipro players.

After the games in Hutchinson, the remaining eight teams will advance to the finals in Wichita. There will be two games a night in Wichita.

Kobritz said Riverfront Stadium was designed as a multi-purpose facility, which would host events other than Wind Surge games. The team will host a pair of concerts in the coming months in addition to Nitro Circus, an extreme sports event.

Wichita State played a baseball game at the stadium in April, and now the NBC World Series will return.

Credit Hugo Phan / KMUW
Kevin Jenks, right, at Monday's announcement about the 2021 NBC World Series.

City Council member Bryan Frye said when the city drafted a contract with the group that operates the Wind Surge, it included dates for the World Series.

“After all, Lawrence-Dumont Stadium has been the home of the NBC World Series since its beginning. This place had to be its next home,” Frye said.

Jenks said the World Series, like Wind Surge games, will be a cashless event. Tickets will go on sale Friday to Wind Surge season ticket holders and on June 8 to the general public.

“It's a beautiful stadium,” Jenks said. “Every detail was thought out in a very short amount of time.

“And the NBC is grateful … that we get to play the 87th NBC World Series right here in this ballpark.”

Tom joined KMUW in 2017 after spending 37 years with The Wichita Eagle where he held a variety of reporting and editing roles. He also is host of The Range, KMUW’s weekly show about where we live and the people who live here. Tom is an adjunct instructor in the Elliott School of Communication at Wichita State University.