View Full Version : Back in the Majors

07-24-2004, 08:56 AM
An article in the Daily Oklahoman published today, July 24, 2004, said the Oklahoma City YardDawgs (yucky name) have reached such a plateau on attendance that the AFL has placed Oklahoma City on TOP of the expansion list.

That means the AFL will return to the Ford Center and we will be featured on NBC with the other large major league cities. Time table was not announced.

Also, recently, one of the Oklahoman's sports columnists said we should now seek the NHL since they are in financial trouble. Sounds like an oxymoron. However, what he meant was the franchise fees are lower as well as wages and ticket prices. So, that places Oklahoma City back into contention.

I wonder if Funk will still give the NHL the naming rights to Blazers. I hope so.

Any thoughs? :D

07-24-2004, 11:24 AM
Maybe it's time to take the NHL dip...but it depends on who the ownership group is. Anyway, it's good that we've done so well with the AF2 team. Maybe this AFL will do better in the Ford Center.

07-24-2004, 10:03 PM
This might be a good time to go for the NHL. The price is definitely right. I know attendance is down in the NHL, but hockey is still strong in Oklahoma City.
If someone were to purchase such a team, it would probably be Funk, so we probably wouldn't need to worry about getting namig rights from him. I can't think of anyone else than would purchase an NHL team around here, unless and out of town company just moved their team here!

Regardless, our arena was designed and constructured for NHL. That's the whole reason we built it. So I think we should still go after it!

In regards to the AFL, I just hope a new team wouldn't take the same course as the Wranglers did! I think one thing that really helps the Yard Dawgz out is the fact that they play teams lile Tulsa! You have to remember the OKC reason they didn't do well is because of the teams they played...given the choice people preferred to watch the Blazers beat up on Tulsa than the Cavs play Grand Rapids!!!

I think we're still early into the life of the Yard Dawgz. Before we moved up to the AFL, I think I'd give the Yard Dawgz a few more seasons to see how they're going to do long term!

The Blazers have definitely shown us we're ready for an NHL team though. I think OKC would do very well having just one professional team to start out with! I'm sure we'd put all of our support behind it.

I know we're also getting an ABA Basketball team! I'm wondering how successful it will become!

07-24-2004, 10:18 PM
I'm just ready for a pro team in the state! I read somewhere where the NBA was talking to city officials about moving a current team to OKC. Thats what I want! I don't want an expansion team, I want some city to lose their team to OKC!

07-24-2004, 10:25 PM
Haha, rather than being given team, we want to breath down someone else's back!!

07-24-2004, 10:32 PM
Thinking of teams that seem to be falling apart about the Oklahoma Lakers!!!!!!!!!! What a rukus that would create!

07-24-2004, 10:34 PM
That would be entirely appropriate, as we have more miles of shoreline than both coasts!!

07-24-2004, 10:37 PM
I just can't think of any other city, excluding NYC, that I would rather steal a team away from!

Has anyone heard anything else about the MLS team? The last thing I heard was that OKC was still interested but it was going to have to wait for a while.

From what I understand from TulsaNow, Tulsa is really close to getting an MLS team, they just aren't letting the media know about it so people won't get too excited before it happens.

07-24-2004, 11:15 PM
Oklahoma Lakers? That woul be hilarious, and we wouldn't even have to change the would fit perfectly! And wouldn't that be great for LA to lose another pro team! Funny that they used to have 2 NFL teams! Now they have ZERO!

You know, San Antonio is a one pro-sports team town, and they throw all of their support behind the Spurs! They do pretty well! I wouldn't be opposed to an NBA team re-locating here! And I definitely like the idea of getting a team to "re-locate" here!

With Mick Cornett as our mayor, I can't seem him leaving office without one of his accomplishments being landing the first pro-sports team to Oklahoma! You know how Mick is into sports and all! We definitely have to right man leading our city to get the job accomplished!

In regards to the MLS locating here.....I think they pretty much decided against Edmond. Roger Webb, president of UCO, made a statement several weeks ago saying that we were basically out of the running! Oh well! Although I think OKC could've supported a team, Tulsa wouldn't be a bad spot for one. I'm not so sure Edmond was the right location anyway. If we try to go after MLS later, we need to consider a site on the Oklahoma River, or somewhere near downtown!

07-24-2004, 11:24 PM
By the way, here's the article Mr. Anderson was referring to:

Team a big success in its first season in Oklahoma City

By Josh Ward
The Oklahoman

Phones rang; some were answered - others had to wait. Yard Dawgz vs. Talons
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

Where: Ford Center

Tickets: Available.

Radio: WWLS-FM 104.9 or WWLS-AM 640

Standings: Tulsa (11-3) is first in the Southwest Division; Oklahoma City (10-5) is second in the division. The Yard Dawgz, who secured a playoff berth last week, could clinch at least one home playoff game with a win tonight.

Yard Dawgz home attendance

April 10 vs. Rio Grande Valley: 10,012

May 1 vs. Tulsa: 13,545

May 8 vs. Laredo: 6,002

May 22 vs. Wichita: 7,554

May 29 vs. Arkansas: 6,055

June 19 vs. Laredo: 8,431

July 3 vs. Central Valley: 9,186

Home attendance average: 8,683.57

Oklahoma City is second in the af2 in average attendance and total attendance behind Arkansas. Attendance figures are based on tickets issued and may not reflect the number of fans present for the game.
Yard Dawgz staffers were fielding questions and calls about the effort to pack the Ford Center for tonight’s regular-season finale against Tulsa.

Ticket sales have been brisk, the team reports, as evidenced by the buzz of the phones. Breaking the arenafootball2 single-game attendance record became the first-year franchise’s goal midway through the season.

But record or no record, the Yard Dawgz first season is at an apex, which leads to an inevitable question - after bringing arena football back to Oklahoma City, have the Yard Dawgz been a success?

The answer, at the turnstile, from team officials and the league, looks like a yes. A yes that could help Oklahoma City get a shot at the next level of arena ball.

“I was thrilled (when af2 expanded to Oklahoma City),” said Jay Marcus, executive director of af2. “It has one of the best arenas in arena football.

“It’s in the heart of football country.”

But team officials insisted that league expectations weren’t nearly as high as their own. Before anything else, an ownership group led by Jeff Lund and Barry Switzer wanted a viable product on the field.

First came the signing of quarterback Craig Strickland, last year’s ArenaCup MVP and a former Carl Albert star. From there Strickland, now the all-time leading passer in af2 history for yardage and touchdowns, was surrounded by a cast of af2 vets. That helped the team lure offensive and defensive coordinators Sparky McEwen and Glen Hall away from Grand Rapids in the AFL and pair them with former NFL linebacker-turned-af2 coach Gary Reasons.

The personnel have added up to a playoff berth in the team’s first season, an undefeated home record through seven home games and the highest-scoring offense in both the af2 and AFL.

“In any sport, at any level, when you have an expansion team there’s going to be some growing pains,” Oklahoma City coach Gary Reasons said. “For us to come in the first year with guys who haven’t played together, coaches who haven’t coached together and the organization brand new - it’s an accomplishment.”

And despite concerns that fans would not watch minor league arena football, attendance figures have been solid.

Oklahoma City is second in af2 attendance in both per-game average and total fans. Averaging better than 8,683 fans per game, the Yard Dawgz are second to the Arkansas Twisters in both categories. Oklahoma City’s figure is boosted by the second home game of the season against Tulsa which drew 13,545.

With attendance figures remaining high despite hosting games on graduation weekend for the state’s universities, Memorial Day weekend and Independence Day weekend, Oklahoma City saw an opportunity to go after the single-game attendance record of 16,058 - set twice by Arkansas in 2000.

If you build it and they come, you’ll get paid - eventually.

Tickets sales helped the Yard Dawgz balance the books after corporate sponsorships were slow coming aboard. Normally, ticket sales account for 50 percent of a team’s operating budget while corporate sponsorships make up the rest.

“We have exceeded in the bleachers what we lack in corporate help,” Dawgz general manager Ben Buckland said. A sound product on the field, fans in the seats and a revenue stream aside, the Yard Dawgz’s biggest accomplishment this season may be turning of heads in Chicago and New York, where a select group of people control all things arena football.

If this season were an audition, Oklahoma City nailed it - even if it was for a role that currently doesn’t exist. The AFL, with outposts in nearly every major market in the United States and a major television broadcast deal with NBC, has taken an interest in Oklahoma City again. And although there’s no definitive plan from the league for a timetable on expansion, this Yard Dawgz season has almost assuredly put the city at the front of the line.

“So if (Oklahoma City) progresses as it can now it can be an AFL city,” Marcus said. “It’s absolutely a step in the right direction.”

A move back to the AFL means more money for the franchise and more exposure for the city.

The phones continue to ring throughout Friday afternoon, and the Yard Dawgz staff remains optimistic that tonight’s game (and a big walk-up crowd) will bring a new attendance record. They’ve made it a priority, but are quick to point out that even coming close to the record would be a big deal. Lesser organizations, they insist, would shy away from such a goal.

“Goal setting is important in anything you do, setting lofty goals,” Buckland said. “

“Our staff is stretched about as far as we can be, but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

07-25-2004, 09:57 PM
Please, if OKC moves up to AFL, change the name! Yard Dawgz has got to be the worst name they could've picked. What was wrong with the WRANGLERS? That sounds a lot better and is more fitting to OKC than Yard Dawgz.

Blazers would be a good name if OKC ever got NHL. And for an OKC NBA team? The Oklahoma STORM!

07-25-2004, 10:02 PM
When Oklahoma City rejoins the AFL, the name YardDawgz will probably go bye-bye. I also hate it. Anyone know the name of the new ABA team?

Also. Wranglers will not be the new name. That name is in a more appropriate place. Right in the center of hickville USA... Austin, Texas. :p

07-25-2004, 10:07 PM
Damn you Austin! Well then why not Oklahoma STORM for the AFL team? It's definitely fitting for tornado-prone OKC (well...Moore) and global weather capital Norman, all part of metro OKC. Anything but Yard Dawgz!

07-26-2004, 12:42 AM
I believe the name for the ABA team is the Ballhawgz.

07-26-2004, 07:09 AM
TS: You are correct. Yuck! As usual. I only wonder what the name of the RedHawks would be if they changed it. :o

07-26-2004, 11:16 AM
It is quite amazing that there are people who sit down and talk and come up with Yard Dawgz and Ballhawgz as names for sports teams. I would like to meet these middle aged wealthy white men that have no clue. Absolutely amazing!

07-26-2004, 11:29 AM
It is quite amazing that there are people who sit down and talk and come up with Yard Dawgz and Ballhawgz as names for sports teams. I would like to meet these middle aged wealthy white men that have no clue. Absolutely amazing!

Actually, the name Yarddawgz was chosen from a contest. IT started as "Yarddogs" and became the current spelling after it was found other spellings would violate trademark and copyright laws.

I bet it was the same toothless moron that gets on camera at a tornado or mass homicide and utters the line"this just don't happen har!" While the coroner is bagging bodies in the background. LOL. :eek:

07-26-2004, 07:56 PM
OK Guys, I figured I would respond here.

Although Yard Dawgs and (what the heck??!!) Bullhawgz may not be the most appealing of names for professional sports, they really do not bother me much.

After all, arena football is a rough, contact sport. And Yard Dawgs have a certain Aura of a yard of tough pit bulldawgs "not to be messed with." sort-of idea. I like the Yard Dawgs but really think the name fits the CHL team more than the Blazers does (as hockey is REALLY a rough sport). I am not sure about the BullHawgz name but at least we have interest in a semi-pro bbleague.

I can say one thing for sure, I am glad to see the teams use OKLAHOMA CITY in the name of the teams. I think we should reserve OKLAHOMA for the use of college teams here, so there is a clear distinction around the world - that OKLAHOMA CITY is professional (hopefully major league) teams and Oklahoma is the NCAA Perinneal Top Ranked OU Sooners.

Besides, it is better for a newscaster up here in Seattle to be talking about the "Oklahoma City .." than Oklahoma .. Most people know Oklahoma as the Sooners, but the OKC this or that would immediately indicate major league and lift OKC into the major league status of (if nothing else) opinion.

BTW, we already have an Oklahoma Storm bball team; located in Enid and affiliated with USA bball. We also have Oklahoma City lightning (womens football), and so on.

I too hope we could land an NBA team as well as NHL and MLS. I think all three major leagues would do well in OKC and would not compete against each other but instead would grant OKC major league status and even elevate OKC's minor league teams (Redhawks).

I really dont care too much about the team name, as long as we can "shed" the common HICK or COWBOY conception that many still envision about OKC (the sad thing is this perception was held mostly by residents of OKC until recently). Modern names or even less culturally sensitive team names are more than welcome in my book.

My other request is, any professional team located in OKC or its metro area should be labeled as "Oklahoma City ..." Reserve "Oklahoma .." for the NCAA (Champion in almost every sport) Sooners! That way, no confusion and people worldwide would see OKC in the big leagues! (Ditto that for ANY major league team to locate in Tulsa).

07-26-2004, 09:08 PM
OK Guys, I figured I would respond here.

I really dont care too much about the team name, as long as we can "shed" the common HICK or COWBOY conception that many still envision about OKC (the sad thing is this perception was held mostly by residents of OKC until recently). Modern names or even less culturally sensitive team names are more than welcome in my book.

The exact reason I will NEVER be convinced we are anything with south in it. South to the country means hick. :p

07-26-2004, 10:52 PM
Hot Rod, I completely agree with you on the fact that the sports team name needs to keep the name Oklahoma City. One thing I didn't like when they changed the name of the got changed from Oklahoma City 89ers to Oklahoma Redhawks. I think we should've left city in the name!
It's kind of like California Angels....I think Anaheim made a great decision when they changed the name to Anaheim.

Regardless, I agree with you guys that the names of our AF2 team and ABA team are crazy. I suppose Yard Dawgz isn't any worse than the original name Brad Lund proposed: Bull Frogs. I think I'd rather be a Yard Dawg! Regardless, we could've come up with something better. Tulsa did!

I'll start a new thread on naming ideas for an AFL team! If you have any ideas list them. I'll be thinking of some too.

By the way, here's the site for the ABA:
There are some other weird teams out there too, so we shouldn't feel too bad....The Boston Frenzy, Motown Jammers, or St. Louis Rots (yeah, the dog...what a suck name) aren't much better!

07-26-2004, 11:19 PM
Is the ABA some kind of "minor-league" basketball league? That would be cool if it was like minor-league baseball and NBA had "farm teams" across the country to train its players in mid-size cities. If it isn't, I really can't see OKC or anywhere giving it a lot of support.

07-26-2004, 11:29 PM
Yeah, it's more of a minor league type basketball. They don't really have a farm club system though. I think that's just in baseball! Anyways, it's more like the CHL, the league the Blazers play in. Personally, I like that better that having a farmclub...problem with having a farm club is you never get to know the players very well. Once they get decent they leave and move up to the majors! Take the Redhawks for's extremely hard to keep up with their players! Many die hard Blazers fans have watched their players for years! When one retires, it's a really big deal....kind of like in the NHL! Don't quote me on this one, but I think they even retired Peter Arvanitis' number.......I'm not a regular attender of Blazers games though, so if someone knows for sure you might correct me! Anyways, I know when Joe Burton retired, they had a big celebration for him!

07-27-2004, 06:35 AM
I went to the aba website, and our name may not be as bad as I thought.

For some reason, I thought our name was Bullhawgs! ha ha ha ha ha :p

But in reality, we are the Oklahoma City BallHawgs. Meaning, we hawg the basketball.

OK. That is better than BullHawgs. For a minute there, I was thinking we were going back into the 19th Century or something with the name BullHawg. "Couldn't they come up with something better than that sh--?" :p

07-27-2004, 06:37 AM
O, the web site is

Hey, it does have a bull with a bball with ABA colours. I like how the bball in OUR logo is synonomous with the ABA colours. I just wish they had a person of sorts instead of a bull!

07-27-2004, 05:31 PM
I agree....I wish they had something else on there instead of the bull! Maybe a basketball player stealing a ball from the other team or something! I think the bull is hickish!

07-27-2004, 05:41 PM
Actually, it is not a bull. It is a Boar, or Hog similar to a Razorback. Hence Ballhawgs.

Some of the teams DO have weird names, such as the Rottweilers, Tycoons, and more. Others did fine. Kentucky Cnls (sorry, spelling not there) and a few others.

07-27-2004, 08:20 PM
Thanks for the explanation Mr. Anderson. That makes a little more sense to me now! I just hope others don't mistake it for a bull!