Sporting events continue to grow in Oklahoma City
With a rich sporting tradition, a hospitable atmosphere and the constant improvement of its top-notch venues, Oklahoma City continues to grow as a preferred destination for amateur sporting events. In November 2014, the NCAA announced that Oklahoma City will host a 2017 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Regional at the Chesapeake Energy Arena, marking the fifth time Oklahoma City has hosted this event since 2008. This comes on the heels of the announcement that Oklahoma City will host one of the eight 2016 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball First/Second Rounds in the same venue.
“Oklahoma City has always been a favorite destination in the sporting event market, but we have seen a significant increase in events in the past decade,” said Mike Carrier, president of the Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), a division of the Chamber. “A combination of Oklahoma City’s renaissance and the renovations to several of our event facilities allows Oklahoma City to be one of the best options for amateur sporting events.”
Also in 2014 came the announcement that Oklahoma City will continue to host the Women’s College World Series at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium - OGE Energy Field until 2035. Oklahoma City has hosted the event since 1990 and is one of three cities to have a permanent NCAA Championship event.
The Oklahoma City CVB and the Oklahoma City All Sports Association work in tandem to support Oklahoma City’s amateur sports market. From 2005-2014, the Oklahoma City CVB assisted 398 sporting events, not including the events of Oklahoma City’s professional sports teams, for a total of 644,130 room nights and an economic impact of more than $1 billion. During that same time frame, amateur sporting events made up 26.6 percent of the total number of events and 39 percent of the room nights booked by the Oklahoma City CVB.
Since 2010, the amateur sporting event industry has gained even more momentum in Oklahoma City. From 2010-2014, sporting events accounted for 36.3 percent of events and more than 50 percent of the room nights booked by the Oklahoma City CVB.
In addition to hosting tournaments and competitions, Oklahoma City also welcomes many national sports meetings. Since 2008, Oklahoma City has hosted the National Association of Sports Commissions (NASC) Regional Workshop, the Association of Sports Executives (ACES), National Sports Forum (NSF), National Association of Sports Commissions (NASC), Minor League Baseball (MiLB) Promotional Seminar, United States Olympic Committee (USOC) National Governing Body Best Practices Meeting, Amateur Softball Association (ASA) National Council Meeting, and USRowing, USA Canoe/Kayak and USA Wrestling Meetings.
“The quality of Oklahoma City’s venues plays a huge role in the recruitment of any event, but this is especially true in the sports convention market,” Carrier said. “The construction and upgrades to Chesapeake Energy Arena allowed us to bid on the NCAA wrestling and volleyball tournaments. The Oklahoma River improvements brought rowing and canoe/kayak events to Oklahoma City. The BrickOklahoma Rivertown Ballpark also allowed us to host Big 12 baseball tournaments. The improvements to these venues, alongside our strong partnership with the Oklahoma City All-Sports Association, have contributed to the increase in sporting events and meetings in the past five years.”