Widgets Magazine
  • Plans revised for proposed MAPS 4 stadium

    Full press release:

    OKLAHOMA CITY (Aug. 6, 2019) – A group led by the Oklahoma City Energy FC today revealed new renderings for a multipurpose outdoor stadium at the Aug. 6 City Council meeting for MAPS 4. The proposal would create a permanent home for professional soccer and a centralized venue suitable for hosting high school football and soccer championships. It would also enable Oklahoma City, currently the only city of the top 50 largest cities lacking an outdoor stadium, to finally compete for major outdoor concerts, festivals and sporting events.

    “This is an opportunity to once again set our city on a global stage,” said Bob Funk, Jr., co-owner of OKC Energy FC. “It will connect and unify Oklahoma City’s diverse cross-section of cultures and provide a powerful economic boost to our urban core.”

    Donna Clark, co-owner of OKC Energy FC and a pioneer in bringing professional soccer to Oklahoma City said, “Soccer is a unifying sport across genders, ethnicities, cultures and religions. I attended the Women’s World Cup final shown at Together Square and it was a deeply impactful experience to sit with more than 700 fellow Oklahomans aside OKC’s newest public futsal court, while watching the U.S. women defend their title. Oklahoma City needs professional soccer deeply rooted within our community.”

    The presentation revealed two options to build the venue, each with new amenities and features. The first option represented a $37 million to $42 million investment for an 8,000-seat stadium that would accommodate soccer, high school football, rugby, lacrosse, concerts and festivals. It is estimated it would host more than 60 events each year resulting in an annual $60 million economic impact.

    The second option presented was a $67 million to $72 million investment with 10,000 seats, shade structures, and other amenities to improve the fan experience. Additional restrooms would allow for crowds of up to 18,000. This option would include a larger stage sought by national music touring groups, and a secondary stage designed to seat 8,000. It is estimated it would host more than 80 events each year resulting in an annual impact of over $79 million.

    “A centrally located multipurpose stadium will be a powerful catalyst for private development,” said developer Chuck Wiggin, who backs the concept. “MAPS projects are city-owned, which will put the City in a position to manage and incentivize nearby development that is consistent with the needs of its residents as well as City planning objectives — dense, mixed-use, affordable, bike-friendly, walkable, and accessible by public transportation. It’s an opportunity to connect and boost nearby districts and attractions and promote connections citywide.”

    The plan enjoys strong support from Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association Executive Director David Jackson, Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent Sean McDaniel, Santa Fe South Schools Superintendent Chris Brewster and Millwood Schools Superintendent Cecilia Robinson-Woods. At the Council meeting, each emphasized the importance of youth participation in soccer and expressed gratitude for the extensive charitable contributions and programs to expand and improve the quality of youth athletics.

    “I’ve witnessed the impact a new athletic facility can have on a community, and how it inspires young athletes and brings neighbors together through a common interest. MAPS 4 is Oklahoma City’s chance to do this on a major scale,” OKC Energy FC co-owner Tim McLaughlin said. McLaughlin founded nonprofit organization Fields and Futures.

    Additional backers of the concept include the South Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, the Oklahoma City Police Athletic League, deadCENTER Film Festival and Okla Cine Latino Film Festival, as well many other Oklahoma City community leaders.

    Funk’s portion of the presentation highlighted MAPS 4 as Oklahoma City’s best opportunity to create an environment that empowers connection, inclusivity and community in a way that complements nearby districts accessible citywide. He highlighted the growing appeal of soccer and its accessibility as a sport to watch and play for families from all backgrounds and incomes.

    The presentation identified soccer, rugby and lacrosse as the fastest-growing sports in America and pointed to a 2018 Nielsen study in which 51 percent of Oklahoma City’s direct market area are interested in or follow professional soccer.

    The presentation also covered missed tourism and sporting event opportunities due to Oklahoma City’s lack of an outdoor venue capable of hosting large scale events, citing Big 12, NCAA, NAIA and junior college soccer, high school football and soccer, college and club lacrosse, international and club rugby, and e-sports events as examples of what would be possible if Oklahoma City included such a facility in the MAPS 4 initiative.

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