View Full Version : Which league will OKC be able to support next?

07-31-2008, 03:21 AM
OK everyone, I don't want to jump the gun or anything.

But, assuming OKC will be the raging success we know it will be, in supporting its NBA team. And assuming the current renaissance blooms into future, one would expect that OKC will desire another major league team. This would especially be true if the Clay Bennett and the gang, were to own it.

So, if you had your say and the NBA was a huge success and the Ford Center is also a raging success and Clay went to you and asked you - what should be OKC's next major professional franchise?


I consider these to be the top sports leagues, along with the NBA. Of the big 4, OKC would need a stadium for the NFL (although Memorial Stadium could substitute as a temporary while construction was taking place), and you'd think Bricktown Ballpark would require an expansion into the 30,000 seat range and add in some luxury suites for the MLB.

Ford Center would pretty much have the NHL or AFL covered, although perhaps htere could be another 'smaller' expansion this time in the existing lobby area - to add space for another franchise's offices/lockers/pressroom.

MLS would require a stadium and I assume NLL would also.

So, based on this - what should be OKC's next conquest?

07-31-2008, 05:41 AM
You left out auto racing (not necessarily NASCAR - Sprint Cup). NLL could also be played in the Ford Center or the Myriad. It is played on a surface the size of a hockey rink. I think a 25,000 seat stadium along the river would be great for more than just MLS. We have listed all of the uses before so no point in going down that road again.

Chicken In The Rough
07-31-2008, 06:58 AM
Lacrosse would be totally awesome. But I think people would not support it. It is not popular enough, and the city shouldn't take a chance on something so unproved in my opinion. If it fails, for whatever reason, it leaves a mark on our permanent record.

I think it is better to pursue leagues with a higher probability of success. The NHL would be best due to the relatively low upfront construction costs. We can use the existing arena.

I always thought that a significant mistake was made in the design of the Bricktown Ballpark. It is boxed in; and I don't see how it could possibly be expanded to accomodate MLB. It will require renovations and additions that are probably too much for that space, and too much for the original structure. I think a new baseball stadium will have to be built if we want an MLB team.

The NFL will require even larger civic investment. A stadium that is up to current standards will cost at least 500 to 600 million. Perhaps with our lower construction costs, we can squeek by with 450 million. I don't see OKC supporting a tax for this unless the team owners kicked in a significant amount as well (like that will happen).

A track built for auto racing will similarly require large amounts of upfront money and land. Plus, the nation may already be at the saturation point for such an endeavor. I don't know anything about racing, but it seems that there are already quite a number of facilities. Too many will result in excess competition which will drive down revenues and probably cheapen the sport (my apologies for the irony).

Whatever pro sport comes to OKC, including the NBA, I would like to see a significant effort at community outreach. The OKC team should, and probably will, establish local youth leagues, training camps, small neighborhood facilities, etc. that will promote the sport and encourage people to participate.

If I were a city leader today, I think I would go after an NHL team first. It seems to be the most logical choice.

Chicken In The Rough
07-31-2008, 07:16 AM
After thinking this over a little, I think it may be better for OKC to build a really kickin' art scene. I would love to see upgrades at the symphony and the OKC Museum of Art. What we have is nice, but could really be moved to a higher level.

There should also be a Chamber Orchestra, Opera, a greater ballet, and several additional live theaters. OKC has one of the best training spots for music and art. OCU sends bunches of people every year to New York to make a living. These people could be staying here and adding to our community.

We have a nice base, but could greatly benefit from the improvements. The metro area already has a diverse group of art establishments such as the National Cowboy Musuem and Western Heritage Center, the coming Native American Cultural Center, the Science Museum of Oklahoma, and the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History. I would like to see a major addition to the OKC Museum of Art, and perhaps a new museum for modern art.

Building an even better arts community will help OKC attract even more of the creative class that thriving cities need.

07-31-2008, 07:27 AM
I believe you mean the Civic Center in which we recently just poured about $80 million into it and completely rebuilt the interior. It's very nice, I encourage you to check it out. I agree we could make it nicer or expand or add another building.

07-31-2008, 07:37 AM
Wow, I don't see OKC being able to support a second major league team for decades. It's tenuous as to whether we'll support the NBA strongly in 7 years.

07-31-2008, 07:52 AM
I think we could support MLS either on the River or in the suburbs of Edmond, Norman or Moore. Plus, we'd truly get worldwide attention since soccer aka futbol is truly the world's sport. We could build a quality stadium for about $50 million, much cheaper than anything else we'd have to remodel or build. It could also be used for other activities, MLL, high school sports championships, etc.

07-31-2008, 08:37 AM
I agree with metro on the assessment that an MLS team is the way to go. I grew up in Kansas City, played soccer from 3 until I graduated high school, and my family and friends completely embraced the MLS. It's a lot of fun and would be a great thing in Edmond or Moore or Norman, but I would suggest it be done along the river. A soccer-only stadium with accompanying youth league fields would be awesome. Not quite to the level of the Home Depot center in California, but along those same lines. Come on Chesapeake, shell out some cash. You built a boathouse already...

07-31-2008, 10:17 AM
amaesquire, I encourage you to check out the other thread where we were discussing the possibility of MLS in OKC. There are potential stadium renderings and everything.

07-31-2008, 02:46 PM
You left out auto racing (not necessarily NASCAR - Sprint Cup). NLL could also be played in the Ford Center or the Myriad. It is played on a surface the size of a hockey rink. I think a 25,000 seat stadium along the river would be great for more than just MLS. We have listed all of the uses before so no point in going down that road again.

I have wondered how well the Nascar Sprint Cup Series would work here since I began getting more into it. I do not think a Super Speedway could make it with the tracks in Ft. Worth and Kansas City but if a tough short track was built with the great architectural design we are seeing in many of our projects I think it would hold possibility. This route would not directly compete with the Super Speedways and offer another opportunity for fans in the region.

That said, based upon what I have read on here I believe MLS would be most likely to move here next with their interest in Edmond. The OKC metro seems to have more of a fondness for soccer than we realize.

Baseball, while I love MLB. I also love AAA ball. I would hate to see the Redhawks go. What I would prefer is the team being renamed back to the 89er's.

sgt. pepper
07-31-2008, 03:42 PM
now if we get a MLS team....tulsa will really be upset. Did MLS have like an attendance contest between okc and tulsa and tulsa won? There were a couple of exhibition or pre-season games and the one in OKC was played in edmond. i think funk was behind the okc game?

i think the city needs to conentrate on bringing jobs to the city, not sport teams. the teams will come after the jobs.

07-31-2008, 03:43 PM
Honestly, I left NASCAR off because I thought it would be way too 'hick' and I wanted to concentrate on the recognized major professional sports. Nascar wastes fuel and just personally - Im not a fan.

I am a fan of NHRA and IHRA, however, and I think it would be way cool to get OKC on that circuit. We could use the existing State Fair Grandstand and make the track into a 1/4 mile straight-way. That would be cool and to me, NHRA is much cooler than NASCAR and could be accomplished for a Fraction of the investment.

I think Nascar could be something Tulsa area could jump on. Not because of the hick or whatever, but it could give them something to embrace and develop (and would still benefit the state, I just don't see it in OKC - that's all). Im not knocking Tulsa at all, by the way - Im only suggesting that if NASCAR desired to be in the state - Tulsa area would probably be a better location.

07-31-2008, 04:12 PM
I agree with the MLS argument. The ONLY problem, is MLS is just starting to get big in North America - and so the competition for a team is HUGE.

We, Seattle, are getting a team in 2009 - it'll be interesting if we can support it (honestly, I don't think so). But Vancouver is also trying to get a team by 2010 or 2011, and if they succeed - that will save MLS in Seattle (Vancouver is a MUCH bigger market for MLS than Seattle - Im surprised they went with us first, but I suppose it has to do with Qwest Field and the probable suite revenue it might generate). Vancouver is going to remodel their football stadium with a retractable roof - so I imagine they will be awarded a team in 2010 or 2011.

Montreal is also in the running, and a lot of cities that already have stadiums are in the hunt.

What could set Oklahoma City apart from the rest, is a soccer spec. stadium on the river - as has been stated. But - I would not want OKC to build a soccer ONLY stadium, because I don't believe the market is there for that and it would be a waste of tax dollars for a single sport. If it could be a combination soccer/lacrosse stadium seating 30,000 (max) then it might be the crown jewel in MLS and MLL, and surely OKC would get a team as long as it had ownership commitment.

I voted for AFL, MLS. I didn't vote for MLL because I didn't know what they played in - so I figured it must be a stadium.

I voted for MLS because I know there is a strong push for it in Edmond, and I think a stadium either exists and needs to be remodeled or one could easily be built in Edmond (or Norman/Moore as was pointed out) - and if the ownership issue could be resolved, I felt MLS has the best chance of being Oklahoma City's 2nd major pro team. I agree that MLS would give OKC another knotch in the worldwide recognition, but MLS is NOT a world league right now and is not on the same level - so Metro, I don't wholistically agree with your statement (just parts of it).

I voted for AFL because if Clay Bennett and Co. were the ownership - it would be a success. AFL's season does not conflict with the NBA, and I think given strong ownership Clay would bring to the team and the fact that he could tie it in with the NBA team (like package deals or whatever) - it could work. Ford Center already is capable of hosting AFL (already hosts AF2 and hosted AFL before) - and the retrofit should make the profitability profile heavily in favor for another sport to complete the calendar. Also, AFL does not interfere with OU Sooner football - so it would give OKC sports fans options/games year round essentially. The question is, would Clay be interested in about 5 years?

I don't see the NHL. While OKC could easily do it, it would compete with the NBA. And unless Clay owned the team, I just don't see OKC having a dual ownership scenario at the Ford Center. Once OKC gets to 2M in the metro, this will change; but for now - I don't see it working.

I didn't vote for the NFL because of the expenditure associated. Whoever said a NFL stadium would cost $500M doesn't know what they're talking about. We built Qwest Field up here (which is considered a top 5 NFL stadium complete with suites, retractable roof, and convention space) and it was under $400M, and as you know our cost of construction and land is much higher.

I would rekon OKC could build a similar NFL stadium for $200M MAX, lower if it was not downtown. But, would OKC pony up the $200M? Where is the ownership? And, biggest question of all - would the NFL take away from OU Sooner Football and OSU Cowboy Football support? I dunno - I think OKC is big enough to do all three, but all three + the NBA; hmmm. I have my doubts.

Of course, the NFL would DEFINITELY have a large catchment area but I'd say Metro OKC needs to be at least 2M and the state be well over 4M and a ownership scenario in place - before we even consider competing with LA for the next NFL franchise (or relocation).

As for the MLB, we don't need to build a really big stadium. The Brick seats 13K right now, I think the 25-30K range is good enough. The important thing to shell in are suites. And remember, there is room in the outfield for bleachers and we could add sections vertically, on top of what already exists at the stadium. This is totally doable actually, and I think was something Mayor Cornett was considering should we fail in getting the NBA or NHL (which are much easier to land with Ford Center). Now that OKC has the NBA, it's questionable whether we'd go after the MLB and the expense of vertical expanding the Brick. With Tulsa building their new stadium, it could be a good move (move Tulsa up into AAA to feed OKC) for both cities - but I just don't know. OKC does very well in the AAA, but MLB would take at least an additional 10,000 per game.

Something to chew on though, this season we can't fill our 40,000 seat Safeco Field up here. I heard most games are averaging 8000 fans because of the economy and the team sucks. I can confirm because I went to a game and we had our choice of seats, regardless of the $75 I paid for my real seat. Now, I wouldn't want to wish this on OKC, but Seattle's catchment for MLB is probably larger than OKC's and yet we can't consistently fill Safeco in a losing year. And the Mariners is Washington's team - the state kicked in heavily because the Eastern Wa market is a big supporter. Does the same demo exist in OK? I dont know.

So my ranking is as follows:

1) MLS, 2) AFL (with Clay as owner), 3) NHRA/IHRA (must throw that in), 4) MLL {could be in combo with MLS}, 5) NFL (Oklahoma is football country, but would OKC pony up upwards of $200M for it?) 6) NHL (NBA won OKC first, so I don't see NHL coming in for a good while), 7) MLB (is the major-baseball market in OK?), 8) NASCAR (just personal preference mostly, but I think it could work elsewhere in the state)

Again, I don't think we should go after ANY sport until about 4 years of GREAT support of the NBA team. Furthermore, I would prefer the ownership to be the same as the NBA team - so that we don't have to worry about a dual ownership scenario (especially when it comes to Ford Center).

08-04-2008, 01:54 PM
I voted for "MLS" but I meant "USL." See the quote at the United Soccer Leagues (USL) ( web site.

There are a lot of people who play (or have kids who play) soccer in the metro, but I'm just not sure that it will convert into enthusiasm for a top-tier pro team. Not that I wouldn't like to see it (I would love it), but even MLS is basically a farm system for European leagues.

08-04-2008, 02:02 PM
I voted for "MLS" but I meant "USL." See the quote at the United Soccer Leagues (USL) ( web site.

There are a lot of people who play (or have kids who play) soccer in the metro, but I'm just not sure that it will convert into enthusiasm for a top-tier pro team. Not that I wouldn't like to see it (I would love it), but even MLS is basically a farm system for European leagues.

That's been the trend all over the US for 20 years now. Soccer is so popular amongst kids because its just kicking a ball around for them. Once its time to count brass tacks and choose a sport, it's often baseball, basketball or football. Basically, in America, soccer is something more kids just grow out of.

08-04-2008, 02:03 PM
NFL though it won't be until this place reaches at least 2.5 mil which could take a really long time. NFL would be very successful here.

08-04-2008, 02:12 PM
I think the NFL would be a huge and immediate success.......but between Jerry Jones and the powers that be in Norman and Stillwater, I don't expect to see it in the foreseeable future.

Chicken In The Rough
08-06-2008, 06:45 PM
I disagree with the assessment that OKC won't be considered for an NFL team until it reaches a population of 2.5 million. I'm thinking about Buffalo, Jacksonville, Nashville, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Green Bay, etc. I think they'll go wherever they think they can make a buck.

08-06-2008, 08:21 PM
For an NFL team to come here it would truly have to be a state thing. Maybe half way between OKC and Ttown? Then call it the Oklahoma Thunder. lol

08-06-2008, 08:38 PM
I voted for NFL, because it is the only other sport that will gain us more exposure than the rest. We're already known for top notch OU Sooners, so we could benefit having players move onto a NFL team here in OKC. There is more than plenty of supporters for OU Sooners, so if most of the players move onto the NFL team here, then the support is definately there.

I dunno how much money Clay Bennet have and how much more loans he can get, but I would like to see him try to buy out Dallas Cowboys within the next year or two. We need to lure those Texans into Sooner State. If that happens, it would make the Oklahoma vs Texas college football rivalry more intense and the national exposure is there.

There should be a football arena somewhere in OKC on the south side of the river.

We shouldn't wait for the state to get larger. We need to do something to make it larger. NBA helps, but NFL will boost that quickly.

08-06-2008, 08:58 PM
I dunno how much money Clay Bennet have and how much more loans he can get, but I would like to see him try to buy out Dallas Cowboys within the next year or two.

Oh wow. Keep dreamin!

Nawfside OKC
08-06-2008, 09:27 PM
hey im thinking baseball. Come on ya'll the BT ballpark was our first sure sign that OKC was on the move, and that our local leaders were making good on there promises with MAPS. I don't know how big it is compared to other major stadiums, but if we filled in the outfield and added additional seating I could see it happening.How dare we turn our backs on our lovely ballpark.look at the location I see a lot of posters on here talking about the need of pedestrian traffic in BT foot traffic in BT would be really dense on ballgame day.