View Full Version : Oklahoma City is no longer a hockey town....



Dave Cook
04-11-2012, 10:59 PM
....after claiming for years that they were. What in the world has happened to hockey in Oklahoma City?

According to the AHL Attendance figures through April 10, 2012, Oklahoma City is ranked 26th in attendance out of 30 teams.

We are averaging 3,634 a game (yeah, right), a full 500 less than 25th ranked Rockford....but only 200 more than last place Albany. On the nights I've been to the games, you could throw a grenade on half the sections and not hit anything.

We can't blame this on the team, currently in 1st place in the Western Conference. We can partially blame this on the success of the Thunder....or maybe the economy....or maybe just a passing fad. Not sure.

Whatever the reason, the people of Oklahoma City have really dropped the ball with this team.

OKCisOK4me
04-11-2012, 11:23 PM
Id say the reason is that people can't let go of the fact that the Blazers are no longer a part of the equation. Question....did their attendance drop radically when the Thunder came to town?

Dave Cook
04-12-2012, 01:20 AM
Actually, Blazers attendance figures dropped when two things happened: the move to the Ford Center and the arrival of the Hornets.

I think this is part of the 'one horse town' syndrome that has been a bit of a problem for the city.

Remember back to the late 80's and how successful the OKC Cavalry were. They consistantly led the CBA in attendance against the likes of Rapid City and Sioux Falls. What killed the Cav? The Blazers in 1992. Almost immediately, the Cav were forced to relocate. Rather fitting it was basketball that helped kill hockey in OKC.

Just hard to believe we've gone from 10,000+ fans a night to maybe 2,000 on a good night.

Snowman
04-12-2012, 01:43 AM
A few things I think went into it:
- between NBA, OU/OSU football, barons competition for sports entertainment dollars is higher now than ever
- average baron tickets are more expensive, the blazers gave away a ton of free tickets, the baron management stated ahead of time they needed to rebuild perceived ticket value of hockey
- management burned a lot of good will during the teams transition from the people that were fans of the blazers
- marketing has been pretty thin for the barons

dmoor82
04-12-2012, 02:14 AM
I remember back in th mid 90's Joe Burton era the Myriad being as loud a the "peake'!Anyone remember this?Go Blazers,Go Blazers!13k strong doin the wave and chanting?

dmoor82
04-12-2012, 02:16 AM
remember Dougie Lawrence playin' for Tulsa and then comin' to OKC?Remember the fights in the crowd?Remember the North American attendance leading OKC Blazers?

venture
04-12-2012, 02:38 AM
This is probably a strong indicator to prove that those that want to push OKC for a 2nd major professional team are standing in a fantasy world and that it would hurt more than anything.

dmoor82
04-12-2012, 03:07 AM
^^Agreed,OKC for now is a one horse town,and will be that untill IMO our city reaches 2 million people(metro)!

White Peacock
04-12-2012, 03:16 AM
The frequently subpar turnout concerns me as well. I'll admit, I went to most of the Blazers home games in their final season and didn't pay for a single ticket. They passed out free tickets like mad. This seems to have been done to pad the attendance numbers to attract attention from the higher leagues; I know the Edmonton management execs came down to several Blazers games during the final season, likely to analyze the viability of an AHL team if placed here. I don't think they were aware that more than a handful of those seats were filled with non-paying attendees, so they got a false impression of the city's likelihood of taking the new team under its wing.

Going dark for a full season, much of it without even so much as an announcement (although there were abundant rumors) of the future of hockey here did a lot to damage the momentum of hockey fandom here. The Thunder were here and doing fairly well at the time, so I think sports fans turned their attention to the NBA and lost interest in hockey by the time the Barons came in. That, along with the fact that we have to pay for our tickets now - at higher prices - and the lack of the Blazers brand, which has been part of OKC in a couple incarnations since the mid 60s is, in my opinion, responsible for the turnout at Barons games being largely made up of established hockey fans, which are far fewer in number than the casual sports fan looking for a cheap event on a Saturday night. Turnout is significantly higher on giveaway nights, though. A few more of those per season could help to pad our annual average somewhat.

The Barons are a stellar team in an excellent league, with lots of player movement between AHL teams and their NHL parent teams. It's high caliber play to a degree that the Blazers players could not have handled, yet people are less interested than ever before. Except people like me, of course. I'll be devastated if/when we lose the Barons due to disinterest from the host city. Looking at the history of the AHL team owned by the Oilers organization, it's obvious that if it doesn't do well, they have no problem shutting it down and letting it sit dormant while they strike an affiliation with another existing AHL team while they figure out another place to set up their farm team.

Easy180
04-12-2012, 05:40 AM
This is probably a strong indicator to prove that those that want to push OKC for a 2nd major professional team are standing in a fantasy world and that it would hurt more than anything.

This ^^

SoonerDave
04-12-2012, 08:05 AM
this is probably a strong indicator to prove that those that want to push okc for a 2nd major professional team are standing in a fantasy world and that it would hurt more than anything.

this!

worthy cook
04-12-2012, 10:30 AM
It also hurts that this season it seemed like almost 90% of the barons home games were thunder game nights. Like tomorrow night (Friday 13th)

BoulderSooner
04-12-2012, 10:36 AM
This is probably a strong indicator to prove that those that want to push OKC for a 2nd major professional team are standing in a fantasy world and that it would hurt more than anything.

i don't think minor leage attendance has anything to do with what a NHL/NFL/MLB team would draw in okc ..

the okc cavs 1990-1997 were very good in the "best" minor league in the united states and the did not draw at all ..

venture
04-12-2012, 10:48 AM
i don't think minor leage attendance has anything to do with what a NHL/NFL/MLB team would draw in okc ..

the okc cavs 1990-1997 were very good in the "best" minor league in the united states and the did not draw at all ..

:doh:

dankrutka
04-12-2012, 10:59 AM
i don't think minor leage attendance has anything to do with what a NHL/NFL/MLB team would draw in okc ..

the okc cavs 1990-1997 were very good in the "best" minor league in the united states and the did not draw at all ..

What?!?

Anyway, there are numerous studies that show that a metro needs a million to support a pro franchise. OKC can support one great, but with OU, OSU, and everything else, we should not overextend ourselves. I do not see any situation where the Barons are here in 5 years. I'm sure Edmonton is already working on a new home behind the scenes.

OKCTalker
04-12-2012, 11:01 AM
Thunder & Baron experiences seem to be completely different, leaving me with a "white collar" & "blue collar" impression. Thunder games are in the shiny, new CHK Arena, the inside is very well-lit, ticket prices are likely much higher, and the fan base appears to be much more affluent. It's a real tier one NBA team. Baron games are in the grittier, old Cox Center, the inside is frankly dark, ticket prices are lower, and fans appear to be more salt of the earth. The Barons are a farm team, not in the NHL. Also, Thunder "buzz" is huge, and I don't hear hardly anyone talking about hockey.

BoulderSooner
04-12-2012, 11:09 AM
What?!?

Anyway, there are numerous studies that show that a metro needs a million to support a pro franchise. OKC can support one great, but with OU, OSU, and everything else, we should not overextend ourselves. I do not see any situation where the Barons are here in 5 years. I'm sure Edmonton is already working on a new home behind the scenes.

and nothing i said in my post disagrees with that ....

Dubya61
04-12-2012, 12:19 PM
Long Post, sorry.
I read an interesting blog entry thatís over a year old by now by Neal Livingston (here: is a link to his article: http://www.coppernblue.com/2010/12/19/1786413/oklahoma-city-barons-attendance-head-scratcher)
I guess I'm part of the problem, not the solution. Out of the entire inaugural season, I only attended two games with my family.
I heartily agree with most of Neal Livingstonís entry, but would have some knee-jerk responses. First, however, let me agree.
It's Development -- yeah, I loved the Blazers. I love hockey. Hockey is the only god-given team sport out there and you just canít beat the speed and excitement anywhere. My whole family loves hockey and a night out at a game -- any hockey game -- is a win all the way around. Frankly (and get ready to gasp and be appalled), I didn't / donít really look forward to better hockey. When OKC was investigating getting an NHL team here, I wasnít for it. There is no way I could afford to attend NHL hockey as often as I was attending a Blazers game. For the price of my season tickets, I could attend one or maybe two Dallas Stars games. We were heartbroken when it was announced that the Blazers would discontinue operations, but understood the whole financial issue (Thunder competition, etc.). I think what we will miss most is the familiar faces on the bench (Joe Burton , George Dupont, etc. -- heck, I even loved seeing Dougie Lawrence in any sweater). I donít look forward to any familiar faces on the Baronsí bench. But I do love hockey and so Iíll overlook the development concept as my financial situation improves (took a small hit to the income level lately) and attend more hockey. By the way, I have yet to attend a Thunder game. I am vaguely uninterested in the sport (although it is a comparably fast game), mostly uninterested in the players, generally uninterested in sitting at the peak of the ĎPeake to watch some dots run around the hardwood, and extremely uninterested in paying what I would have to pay to see it like I saw the Blazers play. Oh, and even if the Redhawks werenít a development team / league, I wouldnít go see them. What Ė pay money to take a nap in an uncomfortable seat in the hot sun? Ďcause you know the game wouldnít keep a coffee junkie awake!
Itís New Ė Nealís right. But even this far into the Baronsí tenure the stink of being new will wear off. Maybe (like one of the persons who commented on Nealís original article) that could have been ameliorated by not taking a season off, but thatís over and done. Further, one of the persons who commented on Nealís blog noted the opening night: ďTo say that the Barons stumbled out of the gate as far as on-ice performance would be an understatement. The 9800 on hand for opening night didnít see a very good product, from in-game entertainment (having a mascot that obviously canít skate, ice girls who didnít know how/when to do their jobs, and the lack of amenities mentioned in the main story) to on-ice performance, there wasnít much to see on opening night.Ē Walking away from opening night, my whole family was shocked and disappointed. The pre-game, the intermissions, the non-existent light show that would have preceded a Blazers game Ö well, it couldnít hold a candle to a Blazers game / event. If that was a first date, I never would have asked that girl to go out again. Did the Barons put forth any effort? Were they shackled in some fashion by the AHL that was never present with the CHL? Iíll never know. It certainly didnít feel like a step ABOVE the CHL. It felt like a poor imitation of a Blazers event. Oh, and losing the first game sucked, too, but of course the odds are that one side will win the contest, and one side will lose. Thatís a game.
Itís in the Cox Center -- I sort-of agree. Like Neal, I think I prefer hockey in the Cox Center for all the same reasons he already mentioned, but then, again, I attended, and enjoyed several games at the State Fair Arena. While the Cox Center may look like an aging beauty next to the Chesapeake Energy Arena, the Myriad was uptown in so many ways compared to the State Fair Arena. At least I didnít feel the need to bathe in hand-sanitizer after leaving the Myriad! If the only real difference between the Cox Center and the ĎPeake is the amenities once youíre inside, that can be easily fixed Ė and I canít imagine why it hasnít already been done Ė but imitating the ĎPeake might be the wrong tack to take. The possibilities, really, are endless. If a punk can set up a rave in a warehouse on a momentís notice, canít the game dates (or at least the weekend game dates) be predicted and set up a during-but-mostly-after-the-game club in one of the Coxís big rooms. What, no one wants to do it for every date? Fine. Contract each date individually. Make the Cox Center one big club for each weekend game. Afraid youíre gonna alienate the family attendance? Thrown in a day game once in a while (when the night-time would compete with a Thunder game, anyway) and set up a family-friendly arcade area. Set up laser-tag, dodge ball and a pizza parlour in the big rooms. Put up a screen in the big rooms and sell non-seat tickets where a parent of a toddler could watch the game AND the kids. The Cox Center actually presents a LOT of opportunities that the ĎPeake canít even dream about. That might actually be another OKC downtown plus.
It's Expensive -- Itís not, and Neal says as much. In fact he says that when you add EVERYTHING up, will a Barons game be something you do frequently? I would certainly frequent a more complete visit to the Cox Convention Center , as described above -- when, that is, I have the money to do so (hey, it'll happen. I'm just about through dodging the creditors' calls).
It's Unnoticed -- I agree. This is one of the buttons pushed that I have to give my two cents on in a knee-jerk fashion. Living in Europe for almost ten year due to military assignment, I relied on the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service for news. Even during the race up to the playoffs (and therefore in the OFF-seasons for football and baseball), a quarterback with a broken pinkie or a first baseman with marital problems would get more air time than a 3OT game that would determine the playoff seeding. I would say that while the lack of news outlets covering the OKC team may be uncanny, it is a symptom endemic to hockey. I blame the NHL. Somehow, they havenít yet figured out how to sell the game without making sure that they pocket every damned fraction of a cent that can be made off it. How is it possible that I canít watch hockey on television without searching out some obscure channel that changes names every other year or paying extra? What has made it so that I can casually flip through the channels on the weekend and see every sport known to man EXCEPT hockey? Somehow, it has to boil down to money that the NHL canít agree to not have. Is the VS network agreement so lucrative? Did they somehow lose money on the ESPN agreements? Why, why, why, canít I turn on the television and see hockey or even hockey news once in a while? I donít know, but I certainly donít blame channels 4, 5, or 9 (most of the time). It is the NHL that has relegated hockey to a slow-news-day item. Even the NBA has an app for my iphone. The NHL has their Center Ice network and some agreement with VS, CBC, and sometimes, NBC. One of the local channels (KSBI, I think) has changed their format lately to be local entertainment. I donít know if theyíll be able to arrange anything resembling a broadcast of a Baron game, but it almost doesnít matter. The Barons donít need their games broadcast. They need some PR. You said that the organization needs to sell the game. I say not. I say they only need to repackage themselves somewhat and sell an event (a lot of events everytime they're at home on a weekend) Ė an event that would get some local news coverage.
More ideas?
How Ďbout the Barons see if they can get specific sponsorship from a sports bar. I was thinking about Buffalo Wild Wings, in particular, since they sponsored the Blazers "Best Seat in the House" promotion. Get them to run a restaurant IN the arena. Maybe they could run one of the concessions. like the Billy Craig BBQ joint in the ĎPeake, but instead of it just being a concession, they would have a wait staff that would actually bring the food to a particular section of the Cox Convention Center. It would (almost certainly have to) be an abbreviated menu, as compared to the actual Buffalo Wild Wings sports bar menu, but wouldn't that be an occasional refreshing break from the TV screened sports bar? Maybe get the Cox Convention Center to develop three "luxury" or "executive" suites. Two of them would be the standard box suite things (there ought to be a way that it could be done and not take away too much regular seating or eclipse the viewing for the people who happen to be seated above them) and then get a third, large box suite on one of the ends of the ice where the sports bar would run their restaurant, or at least to run the front of their in-arena sports bar. Like the idea of setting up a bar / club in one of the Cox Convention Center's big rooms for each weekend game, couldn't you get the sports bar to trot out their TVs and trivia games for a place to go after the game? You could go from the sports bar before the game to the in-arena sports bar during the game to the sports bar or club after the game. The big-room sports bar could be very near the concession (kitchen or prep outlet) that would also serve the in-arena sports bar section or sports bar box suite, to make logistics not a total headache. If Buffalo Wild Wings doesn't want to do it for every game, you might get someone else to alternate with them and advertise in advance who is running the sports bar box suite.
I'm not certain how they can do the box suite sports bar thing. Maybe just build some platforms for tables on one (or more) of the end sections. They can be removed after the event and seating wouldn't be permanently altered for the Cox Convention Center. Alternatively, pick one (or more) of the sections that are the cheap end seats anyway that no-one wants (or at least that I don't want) and permanently alter the seating plan. For the in-arena sports bar, they certainly don't need the other two "luxury" or "executive" suites, but I just like the idea that I could go watch hockey in a living room once in a while, but the in-arena sports bar could also service these two suites (if configured as a restaurant instead) as well, for the sports bar aficionados at the game that want to watch the game sweep from end to end, rather than watching it from the end of the ice.
Another idea is to get Channel 5 to do their on the road week of off-site broadcasts from downtown. Pick a week that you know that both the Barons and the Thunder have a non-conflicting weeknight game and there are two of the broadcast sites already locked down. They would broadcast from the Cox Convention Center for the night of the Barons game and from the ĎPeake for the night of the Thunder game. Bricktown would be an obvious third broadcast site. Some arts-related site could be the fourth (the Oklahoma City Museum of Art is a suggestion). For the fifth location, they could be at the Paseo district, Capitol district, Remington Park, or the Science Museum Oklahoma ... or anything. I've only listed the things I know about or am interested in. With that proposal, you could co-opt or force some news coverage. It might take some work to pitch it to KOCO, but I bet it could be sold.
What about getting the Oilers to play a game here. Maybe a preseason game against Dallas (or St Louis or Phoenix or Colorado) or find a weakness in the Dallas (or St Louis or Phoenix or Colorado) schedule that would have them willing to do a regular season home game NOT in Dallas, etc. Obviously, it would be best if that regular season home game not at home be against the Oilers for the best value to the Barons, but it might not matter if your only goal is selling hockey in Oklahoma City. If all else fails for an NHL opponent (and I can't imagine you can't get SOMEONE to play the Oilers here), bring the Oilers here to scrum against the Barons.

BoulderSooner
04-12-2012, 12:24 PM
clearly you are not a hocky fan ....

TaoMaas
04-12-2012, 12:30 PM
Going dark for a full season, much of it without even so much as an announcement (although there were abundant rumors) of the future of hockey here did a lot to damage the momentum of hockey fandom here. The Thunder were here and doing fairly well at the time, so I think sports fans turned their attention to the NBA and lost interest in hockey by the time the Barons came in.

I think that's a big part of what happened. I often wonder what would it would be like if we'd just kept the Blazers and never taken a season off. I kinda feel like there would still be a dip in attendance, but nothing like we're seeing now. For what it's worth, my wife was saying that hardly any of the people she works with are watching Thunder games the way they were last year. I told her that I thought the delay of the start of the season, plus the frequency of the games are what has happened.

BoulderSooner
04-12-2012, 12:31 PM
I think that's a big part of what happened. I often wonder what would it would be like if we'd just kept the Blazers and never taken a season off. I kinda feel like there would still be a dip in attendance, but nothing like we're seeing now. For what it's worth, my wife was saying that hardly any of the people she works with are watching Thunder games the way they were last year. I told her that I thought the delay of the start of the season, plus the frequency of the games are what has happened.

the thunder have more people watching them and more people going to games than ever before

SoonerBoy18
04-12-2012, 01:05 PM
To be honest, I never thought it WAS a hocky town. If there is no NHL here, what makes people think the Barons would have the support that the Thunder has?

SoonerBoy18
04-12-2012, 01:09 PM
....after claiming for years that they were. What in the world has happened to hockey in Oklahoma City?

According to the AHL Attendance figures through April 10, 2012, Oklahoma City is ranked 26th in attendance out of 30 teams.

We are averaging 3,634 a game (yeah, right), a full 500 less than 25th ranked Rockford....but only 200 more than last place Albany. On the nights I've been to the games, you could throw a grenade on half the sections and not hit anything.

We can't blame this on the team, currently in 1st place in the Western Conference. We can partially blame this on the success of the Thunder....or maybe the economy....or maybe just a passing fad. Not sure.

Whatever the reason, the people of Oklahoma City have really dropped the ball with this team.

Major league sports is obviously more important/exciting to fans

White Peacock
04-12-2012, 01:40 PM
To be honest, I never thought it WAS a hocky town. If there is no NHL here, what makes people think the Barons would have the support that the Thunder has?

It was a hockey town when the Blazers returned with the reformation of the CHL in '92. It diminished a bit, but remained fairly steady for the Blazers for most of their tenure prior to folding.

Somebody above mentioned the Blazers going under for financial reasons. This isn't really the case, it was just an official excuse. The Blazers were owned by Express Sports, headed by Bob Funk Sr. The Barons are owned by Edmonton and managed by Prodigal Hockey, headed by Bob Funk Jr. It is true that the Blazers weren't as profitable as Funk Sr. was led to believe upon taking ownership of the organization, but the ultimate goal in the later years was to land either an NHL or AHL team. Once they had attracted the interest of the Oilers, I remember reading that it's a requirement that there be no professional hockey in a town for a full season prior to the establishment of an AHL franchise (though I can't currently find anything to corroborate this).

I could be wrong about this, but I'm probably not ;)

skanaly
04-13-2012, 11:24 AM
See I'm a huge hockey fan, and i've been to 12 or 13 games. And every time i go the crowd is the same. Even if its a big game like, Barons Vs. Houston. We have one of the best teams in the AHL( i haven't checked the standings in a while so exuse me if we are actually ranked number 1) but our crowd always stays the same.

On the other hand, when it comes to the Thunder, we have one, if not the best crowd in the whole NBA. I think it's simply that OKC is not a die-hard hockey city.

Two totally different sports, both teams are one of the best in their league, and one team gets 20 times more people to attend a game then the other

BoulderSooner
04-13-2012, 12:08 PM
See I'm a huge hockey fan, and i've been to 12 or 13 games. And every time i go the crowd is the same. Even if its a big game like, Barons Vs. Houston. We have one of the best teams in the AHL( i haven't checked the standings in a while so exuse me if we are actually ranked number 1) but our crowd always stays the same.

On the other hand, when it comes to the Thunder, we have one, if not the best crowd in the whole NBA. I think it's simply that OKC is not a die-hard hockey city.

Two totally different sports, both teams are one of the best in their league, and one team gets 20 times more people to attend a game then the other

one team is big league .. one team is minor league ..

SoonerDave
04-13-2012, 12:24 PM
I'm going to fall in the camp that says OKC was never really "a hockey town." We were a Blazers town, a great family entertainment town, and that team happened to play hockey. I think the very fact that the Barons have proven not to be a great draw here is a testimony to the fact that we're not really a hockey town, because there's little doubt that the technical quality of the hockey is better at this level, but you surely haven't seen that translate to more attendance. Part of that, admittedly, can be traced to the fact that its a more conventional farm team, ala the Redhawks, so a great player one week may be gone the next.

We went to a few hockey games back in the Blazer era, and while its great that folks enjoy it, it just isn't my cup of tea. If it were a group of people we knew that wanted to go as a fun social event, sure, I'd probably give it a whirl, but just to go for the sake of going to a hockey game...that's very, very unlikely for me. No offense to the hockey folks out there, different strokes, as they say....

Lord Helmet
04-13-2012, 12:33 PM
It's a minor league team. Why would anyone want to go see a minor league team when they could spend their money on a ticket to watch an NBA team across the street?

Dubya61
04-13-2012, 01:04 PM
It's a minor league team. Why would anyone want to go see a minor league team when they could spend their money on a ticket to watch an NBA team across the street?

Cost of the ticket.

BrettM2
04-13-2012, 01:32 PM
Cost of the ticket.

Thunder has cheaper seats than the Barons. You get closer for less for hockey, but I'd rather watch the Thunder.

White Peacock
04-14-2012, 11:11 AM
It's a minor league team. Why would anyone want to go see a minor league team when they could spend their money on a ticket to watch an NBA team across the street?

Preference of sport. I don't enjoy any sports aside from Winter Olympics sports, and I particularly love hockey. You couldn't drag me to an OU football game, and I'd probably only go to a Thunder game if it was free. Hockey, however, I'll gladly pay for, even for a minors team.

bluedogok
04-14-2012, 02:02 PM
one team is big league .. one team is minor league ..
This^^^^

Almost every city with a major league team has the same issue with minor league team support. I lived in Dallas when the CHL was resurrected and went to some Dallas Freeze-Blazers games and there was good attendance at the old Fair Park Coliseum, nothing like the Myriad though, the Fort Worth Fire always outdrew Dallas. During that inaugural season the Minnesota North Stars announced they were moving to Dallas, they had two seasons of overlap and the attendance at the Freeze games was minimal so they folded in 1995. In its inaugural season in the IHL the Denver Grizzlies won the championship (Turner Cup), during that playoff run it was announced that the Quebec Nordiques were moving to Denver (and became the Avalanche), the Grizzlies moved to Salt Lake City for the next season.

The reason why it worked in OKC, Tulsa and Wichita was the CHL was not really a developmental league, it was a veterans league with some developmental players. The stability of players staying in the markets meant that the fans could have their "own players" like Burton and not always see a revolving door of young guys looking for nothing more than to move up the ladder. Most people are not that interested in becoming faithful fans of D-League type of teams, they would rather have players they could all their own over watching up-and-coming players even if it means the level of competition is lower because there is a sense of attachment to the players. A former co-worker of mine (Steve Simoni) shuttled between the Blazers and the Houston Aeros of the IHL but he stayed in the market during the off-season and worked as a structural engineer and eventually settled in OKC for awhile after he retired. Even with the large population and all of the transplants from hockey hot beds the Houston Aeros never had great attendance because of the presence of the three major level teams there.

Most minor league teams that successfully connect with the towns fan base are those that work on a good mix of youth with veterans who will stay around awhile. I was talking with a guy who grew up in San Antonio and he talked about how large the attendance was for the San Antonio Missions (baseball) team was before the Spurs started in the ABA and really declined after the Spurs were merged into the NBA (along with the Nuggets, Pacers and Nets). It's just the nature of fans to follow the top level of sport at the expense of the lower levels if they have the opportunity because most people are fans of the entertainment aspect and not a particular sport per se. I know die hard hockey fans who follow the local teams whether they are NHL or AHL (or CHL) and a luke warm fans of other sports. They want the Thunder to do well but don't really follow them until the playoffs but they follow "their" hockey teams, both their NHL favorite and their "local" team. A friend from OKC (we went to school together from kindergarten at Hilldale through OU together) lives in Austin now and is a Texas Stars season ticket holder (and was for the Austin Ice Bats). He played junior hockey in OKC and grew up loving the sport and it is still his favorite sport. I never did go to a game in Austin, even when OKC played there and only went to a couple of Express games, I went to more Astros games than Express games, partly due to the fact that the Express games were in Round Rock and I lived in South Austin and the oppressive heat most of the season just made going to a game there not as much fun. I didn't go to Rangers games in Arlington because of the oppressive heat there most of the summer, Minute Maid was a much nicer environment with the roof closed in August. I prefer to follow the top level of the sports that I watch,hence the reason why I have the MLB Extra Innings and NHL Center Ice (along with NFL Sunday Ticket) on Directv. I went to Blazers games because I knew someone playing and they were a good entertainment value but given the choice I would have preferred to go to an NHL game like I do now with the Avalanche and the weather makes it nice to go to Rockies games.

Edgar
04-15-2012, 11:38 AM
Should have kept the very popular Blazers brand, oil barons a stupid name only Aubrey could get behind, shouldn't have fired John Brooks, and most of all shouldn't have fired Brad Lund- the man knows how to put on a show. went to one game, seeing the swank empty vip lounge, the quasi suites, Jr. had a different clientele in mind than the blue collar swill beer, swear and pound on the glass on a Sat night loyal Blazer fans that filled the arena, and from the looks of it at the game I attended there's what, about a couple grand of them at a Barons game. Funk doing his best Howard Schenellenburger and insulting all the Blazer fans didn't help. The fiasco deserves a quick death.

White Peacock
04-15-2012, 12:11 PM
Aww c'mon, tell us how you really feel.

mmonroe
04-15-2012, 11:01 PM
redhawks... cough

Laramie
04-26-2012, 07:57 PM
What killed hockey in Oklahoma City?

Lack of popular rivaries (no Tulsa, Wichita, Fort Worth, Dallas, Omaha, Memphis).

AHL (AAA hockey) has taken a back seat because of the newness, competitiveness and success of the NBA in Oklahoma City.

It's going to take some time to build back the hockey fan base in Oklahoma City.

The Oklahoma City Barons are going to have to build some new competitor cities in the AHL, like Houston, Texas (Austin), San Antonio. If the AHL relocates some of its franchises to cities like Tulsa, Wichita and/or Memphis, it will help increase interest and revive the sport.

We use to be a Blazer-town; now Oklahoma City is Thunderstruck!

BoulderSooner
04-27-2012, 07:39 AM
we were never a blazer town ..... people taking free tickets to go to games does NOT make them fans ...

sooner88
04-27-2012, 08:11 AM
^^^ It's pretty easy to get that many people in an arena when every 7-11 in the metro would hand you a ticket with an icee... We were never a hockey town, until the Thunder we were a college football town, hockey served for cheap/free entertainment

bluedogok
04-27-2012, 09:41 PM
I think when the CHL was first re-launched it was a good minor league hockey town, I don't remember that many free tickets back then. Much of it had to do with players who stayed with the team for awhile and became identifiable as "Blazers". You also had nearby rivalries with Tulsa and the Wichita Goons that worked up the fan base. What killed it was expansion, mainly with lower level, smaller market teams that brought nothing to the original model of the league.

White Peacock
04-27-2012, 10:55 PM
I think when the CHL was first re-launched it was a good minor league hockey town, I don't remember that many free tickets back then. Much of it had to do with players who stayed with the team for awhile and became identifiable as "Blazers". You also had nearby rivalries with Tulsa and the Wichita Goons that worked up the fan base. What killed it was expansion, mainly with lower level, smaller market teams that brought nothing to the original model of the league.

You mean like the Odessa Jackalopes? haha

Spartan
04-29-2012, 12:35 PM
I think people overestimate Oklahoma's sports dollars. The only window for a new franchise, in the mid-range future, is for an NHL team in Tulsa. Football is absolutely a no-go because the two colleges are too strong, OU is expanding its stadium, and OSU probably will do the same if they ever get a sell-out one of these days.

OU and OSU basketball are hurting almost as much as OKC minor-league hockey. OU has a deal for free student season tickets as long as students check in at each home game. OSU apparently would just rather have a mostly empty arena for the majority of home games. OU women still do well, but that's a unique phenomenon - they've had long-term success under a coach who is a local icon.

Snowman
04-29-2012, 04:37 PM
...

OU and OSU basketball are hurting almost as much as OKC minor-league hockey. OU has a deal for free student season tickets as long as students check in at each home game. OSU apparently would just rather have a mostly empty arena for the majority of home games. OU women still do well, but that's a unique phenomenon - they've had long-term success under a coach who is a local icon.

Much of the drop off in attendance is both men's teams have gone from good teams to major rebuilding mode independently of the NBA, a drop off in attendance should have be expected unless you are in die hard basketball regions. The phenomenon of OU's women's team is they have maintained success, thus have a higher incentive for fans to want to watch. Basketball has consistently been second to football in interest even in the worst of the football years.

Spartan
04-29-2012, 06:38 PM
Contrary to popular belief, I really do love it when someone else posts something that is well thought-out, with air-tight reasoning, that makes me consider something I hadn't previously. The above ^ qualifies. Very, very good point. Capel/Ford may have done more damage to those attendance numbers than any other independent factors..

BoulderSooner
04-30-2012, 07:30 AM
an NFL team in our state would sell out every game of every season ..

jedicurt
04-30-2012, 01:06 PM
an NFL team in our state would sell out every game of every season ..

i'm not so sure it would.... to many people are already fans of other teams (especially the Chiefs and Cowboys)... plus are people going to buy season tickets for OU/OSU and the NFL teams??? i doubt most would... so you are taking some 80,000 people out of the potential market... sure, they might come to a game now and then... So if most of your OU/OSU season ticket holders aren't going to be season ticket holders for this NFL team, then who is? I would be, but i'm not sure how many are really out there.... If we were a metro of about 2 million, i think that we could do that, but probably not until then

but we are a college football state, and it would be much harder to change that than you might think

BoulderSooner
04-30-2012, 01:22 PM
we are a football period state .. and a 65k seat football NFL stadium (NFL stadiums are smaller than big time college football) in OKC would sell out for the 8 games a year with out question ... OKC and Tulsa would be the joint tickets base .. unlike basketball (or baseball/hockey) nfl could draw from the entire state ... for 8 sundays a year

and the corporate sponsor base would be the entire state as well ..

Spartan
04-30-2012, 10:23 PM
Then give it to Tulsa, let them figure that out. That would gut the Thunder's corporate support if not fan support, IF the NFL is as big of a potential draw in Oklahoma as you argue. Either it is and the Thunder would be in trouble, or it isn't and the NFL will fail because the Thunder are too entrenched. I just don't see us supporting both AND two of the nation's strongest NCAAF programs.

Fantastic
04-30-2012, 10:33 PM
There is a whole thread about NFL in OKC... perhaps someone should start a thread titled "Sports attendance in OKC/Oklahoma"

p.s. I'm not trying to be snarky, It just seems like a popular topic that includes multiple subjects in several threads...

BoulderSooner
05-01-2012, 07:33 AM
Then give it to Tulsa, let them figure that out. That would gut the Thunder's corporate support if not fan support, IF the NFL is as big of a potential draw in Oklahoma as you argue. Either it is and the Thunder would be in trouble, or it isn't and the NFL will fail because the Thunder are too entrenched. I just don't see us supporting both AND two of the nation's strongest NCAAF programs.

we don't have "two of the nation's strongest NCAAF programs" ... we have 1 that has NEVER sold out a game ... and we have another that is one of the top 3 programs of all time ...


football and basketball are in different seasons ... and supporting one has little to do with the other ..

jn1780
05-01-2012, 08:31 AM
we don't have "two of the nation's strongest NCAAF programs" ... we have 1 that has NEVER sold out a game ... and we have another that is one of the top 3 programs of all time ...


football and basketball are in different seasons ... and supporting one has little to do with the other ..

My wallet would say otherwise. People only make X amount of dollars per year.

If Oklahoma was a football state period shouldn't both of these NCAAF programs sell out every game even when the teams are not at their best?

It doesn't really matter because filling stadiums is only one part of the equation. We can always fill stadiums if the price is right.

BoulderSooner
05-01-2012, 09:04 AM
My wallet would say otherwise. People only make X amount of dollars per year.

If Oklahoma was a football state period shouldn't both of these NCAAF programs sell out every game even when the teams are not at their best?

It doesn't really matter because filling stadiums is only one part of the equation. We can always fill stadiums if the price is right.


OU does fill there stadium even when they are average ... 96-98 OU averaged over 65k a game in the worst 3 year stretch of all time ..

ou48A
05-01-2012, 10:38 AM
OU is expanding its stadium

You are wrong about this.

ou48A
05-01-2012, 10:44 AM
Remember the mid 1980ís. We are right back their again if the price of oil falls significantly.
If we see a repeat of the 80ís OKC would be lucky to keep the Thunder in OKC.
This is part of the reason why I wonít watch professional sports

BoulderSooner
05-01-2012, 12:40 PM
Remember the mid 1980’s. We are right back their again if the price of oil falls significantly.
If we see a repeat of the 80’s OKC would be lucky to keep the Thunder in OKC.
This is part of the reason why I won’t watch professional sports

not close to the truth ..

jedicurt
05-01-2012, 01:21 PM
Remember the mid 1980’s. We are right back their again if the price of oil falls significantly.
If we see a repeat of the 80’s OKC would be lucky to keep the Thunder in OKC.
This is part of the reason why I won’t watch professional sports

umm... natural gas prices couldn't get much lower than they are right now... and things are still going good... if anything we are looking at the opposite situation right now... with the idea of moving towards more green technologies and cutting dependency on foreign oil, there is a big push to increase the use of natural gas in this country... that would cause the price of CNG to increase and put oklahoma city in a very good spot. We are much more of a Natural Gas State now than Oil, most of the oil companies left for places like Dallas and Houston....

ou48A
05-01-2012, 01:25 PM
not close to the truth ..


Then how has it changed?

Our economy and the support for the Thunder is still very dependent on the price of oil and to a lesser extent natural gas as they provide the most abundant high wage jobs in our area.