Friday, July 17, 2009

WNBA to Tulsa

Looks like Tulsa will probably be welcoming a WNBA team to the BOK Center. In fact, according to the Tulsa Whirled's "unnamed sources" the BOK Center has already been in negotiations for a while. There will be a press conference Wednesday where a group of investors from OKC will announce their venture, which WNBA president Donna Orender will be in Tulsa for. One of ESPN's main women's bball analysts, Nancy Lieberman, said of the deal, “Oklahoma is passionate about sports, they are avid sports fans. I think it would be a great partnership."

This is nothing new however, as almost exactly a year ago the Tulsa Metro Chamber was putting out feelers for landing a possible WNBA team, influenced by the NBA coming to Oklahoma.

Considering Tulsa's desire to fill the BOK Center with some meaningful sports franchise, the WNBA makes perfect sense considering that the NBA is already in the Ford Center and the NHL would probably prefer to wait till after the recession to start even considering making a move somewhere else. Plus, the NHL just did did an expansion phase, so it would have to be a team relocation, and Kansas City is already all over that scene.

There are other sports that Oklahoma could play host to, such as Major League Soccer--which purportedly had a high level of interest in Tulsa which suddenly dropped off the radar a few years ago. The National Lacrosse League has even wants to expand into OKC, so perhaps they'd give Tulsa a shot, which is probably a more favorable city to Lacrosse anyway. Lacrosse is actually kind of cool, and I've been to a few NLL games in DC and Calgary..that I was literally already in the neighborhood for.

There are a lot of possible ways for Tulsa to get its foot in the door of major league sports. An NLL or WNBA franchise is definitely a step up from minor league basketball and arena football, and a good stepping stone toward landing either an NHL or MLS team, or perhaps even an NFL team should Tulsa ever build a stadium. The WNBA only has 13 teams at the moment, all of them in locations that would be "good company" for Oklahoma: Atlanta, Chicago, Connecticut, Detroit, Indianapolis, New York, DC, LA, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Sacrament, San Antonio, and Seattle (for some reason the Houston Comics recently died, despite winning 4 back-to-back championships). All of these teams play in NBA arenas with the exception of Connecticut's. Nancy Lieberman is right, this would be a win-win for Oklahoma and the WNBA.

P.S. Wow, it's been a long time since I wrote about Tulsa, especially considering I used to be pretty good at dividing my posts equally in the beginning..


Steve said...

My son plays lacrosse in Edmond, while we don't even live there. There is a league in Shawnee too, and I know given the right leaders, youth lacrosse would bloom in other parts of OKC as well - only ensureing a steady base to attend major league lacrosse. I know for sure it annoys the baseball and football coaches already in the area, so there must be some legitimate threat! I just learned it this past spring, and it has all the action people usually look for.

Walker, Downtown Ranger said...

Don't forget about soccer, which I think might be the #1 little league sport in the U.S.

Steve said...

It might be the number one sport in participation, if you include the under-5 crowd! I just can't get into soccer if they continue to have that offsides rule, where you can't pass to your teammate if there isn't an opposing player between him and the goal. 1-0 games in anything are boring (making the under-5 games that much more exciting!).