If You Build It, They Will Come: Major League Soccer in Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City looks to be on the right path to a Major League Soccer expansion franchise. According to NewsOK, Prodigal LLC, operator of the newest USL PRO franchise, announced it’s partnership with ADG, Inc. to design a stadium in Oklahoma City specifically for soccer. The initial stadium capacity will be 7,000, with the capability of expanding to 20,000 seats, which is the minimum needed for MLS expansion consideration. “We look forward to working with ADG to design a stadium that can serve the needs of our USL PRO team, and also expand based on our long-term goal of bringing and MLS team to Oklahoma City,” said Bob Funk, Jr.

Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark

Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, which was designed by ADG, Inc. Photo from travelok.com

Very exciting.  A lot of the local sports media talking heads don’t care about soccer, nor do they think this city will support it.  That’s alright.  Mostly, they only represent 45-65 year-old guys.  There are plenty of Oklahoma Cityans that would support an MLS club… Hell, there are plenty of us who will support the USL Pro club.

As seen with the Thunder, OKC has wealthy and willing corporate sponsorship at the ready.  Soccer also brings unparalleled international sponsorship which helps make an MLS club in a “smaller” market financially viable.  Sell corporate tickets and obtain local and international sponsors to help keep ticket prices low.  Every kid plays soccer at one point or another, so keep the games affordable for families.  Expensive tickets are the killer in OKC’s situation.  Price.  Tickets.  Affordably.

Apparently ownership hasn’t decided on the stadium’s location, but building the stadium anywhere but downtown (it’s periphery, really) would be a mistake.  The renaissance of Oklahoma City is well underway, and the club should have the chance to reap those benefits. Land may be cheaper elsewhere, but if you’re going to do it you may as well do it right.  To someone who knows nothing about construction, price of land or MLS requirements, the cotton factory just south of the core seems like the perfect spot for a stadium.  Instead of smelling cotton and other manufacturing (or whatever they do) related putrids, we would smell sweaty athletes and fresh cut fescue.  Which would be a welcomed change of pace, am I right?

Oh, and to all the naysayers… Remember when you thought the original MAPS was a joke?  ”An arena in Oklahoma City is another tax dollar dead end,” is what you probably said.  How does crow taste? The second best team in the NBA (with arguably the brightest future) calls Chesapeake Energy Arena home.  I’m not advocating the soccer stadium be publicly funded…. My point is, pipe dreams aren’t pipe dreams in this city anymore.  They’re a reality.  Give it a chance.  If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.  At least we’ll have a great outdoor concert venue.

Chesapeake Energy Arena
Photo from jsonline.com

Here’s to the stadium being built and expanded, becoming a home for an MLS club, and to the Thunder playing an outdoor exhibition game!  Who knows..  Lil Wayne could be turned down for MLS tickets in OKC sooner than you think.

- @ItsMedication 

 

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