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College Baseball games being played at Community Maritime Park
DOWNTOWN PENSACOLA -- Community Maritime Park in Pensacola will host its first college baseball game this evening.
The Florida Gators play the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles, and in just a few weeks, the University of Alabama will take on Troy.
How this whole thing came together, and what it may mean for Pensacola.
The event is being hosted by the Pensacola Sports Association, which started planning it about two years ago.
For this first year, it features four Division One baseball powerhouses.
But they're calling this year a test run, and say it could grow even larger in the future.
Bill Hamilton "Somebody brought up the question 'could we get a college baseball game here at Wahoo stadium? That would be awesome."
The Sports Association called four teams to gauge their interest.
All four committed almost immediately.
Those teams are the four that will be playing over the next few weeks.
Bill Hamilton "I think it says a lot about our area. They know it's good for college baseball, they know it's good for their fanbase, and they know it's good for recruiting. Every one of these teams has had kids from our area."
Seated tickets for Tuesday night's game were sold out almost immediately.
Only standing room tickets remain.
Organizers expect thousands, with many traveling from other areas of the south east, bringing sports tourism dollars to Pensacola.
But the plan is to grow the event moving forward, possibly nationally.
Other teams, including Wichita State, have expressed interest in playing in the future.
Hamilton says national companies have expressed interest in sponsoring future events.
Bill Hamilton "There's some corporate sponsorship out there nationally that are interested. So let's just see how this trial run goes."
Maritime Park officials say that if this year's games go smoothly, they anticipate even bigger events, including more college and possibly major league exhibition games, in the future.
Donna Kirby "The bigger the act we can get in here, the better. We embrace it. We're looking forward to everything."
Donna Kirby says this, combined with the Cincinnati Reds exhibition games against the Blue Wahoos in a few weeks, will hopefully become regular on the Maritime Park schedule.
"We're hoping if we can get them here every year, we'll have them here every year. We would love it. And I'm sure the fans would love that too. So it'll be a good test for us."