Oklahoma City over the years has made a name for itself as an elite sports destination, earning the admiration of countless sports planners, athletes and family members. It offers sports teams an array of recreational options, top-quality sports facilities, affordable accommodations, exciting attractions and delicious local fare. This urban center pulses with energy, thanks to its flourishing cultural scene, rich history and beautiful waterfront.
Oklahoma City boasts a number of world-class sports venues that give it versatility to host all kinds of sports tournaments.
The Oklahoma River
The Oklahoma River acts as a natural sports venue, designated as an official Olympic and Paralympic training site for rowing, canoe and kayak competitions. The Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation has plans to construct a new whitewater center, a state-of-the-art facility that will accommodate athletes of all skill levels.
Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark
Considered one of the most popular sports venues in Oklahoma City, Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark is the home of the OKC Redhawks, a Triple-A affiliate of the Houston Astros. However, the stadium is not limited to minor league baseball games, as it frequently welcomes Big 12 baseball tournaments, among others. The venue is equipped with locker rooms, concessions, dugouts and seating for over 13,000 spectators.
ASA Hall of Fame Stadium
The ASA Hall of Fame Stadium is one of the nation’s top softball venues. It features four elite playing fields, as well as the National Softball Hall of Fame and Museum, where sports teams can learn about the influence the game of softball has had on American culture. The facility has hosted the World Cup of Softball, the WCWS, ASA Hall of Fame tournaments, and NCAA Women’s College World Series events. The complex has a wide range of amenities and seating for 7,300 fans.
Oklahoma City Community College Aquatics Center
The Oklahoma City Community College Aquatics Center first gained recognition when it served as the main pool for competitions during the 1989 U.S. Olympic Festival. Now, the pool plays host to regional and national aquatic events, such as the NAIA S&D championships and youth tournaments. The complex features a 50- by-25-meter, eight-lane pool, with a moveable bulkhead to accommodate different race lengths. It also has a separate diving well with two one-meter springboards, two three-meter boards, and five-meter, seven-meter and 10-meter platforms. The stadium can fit at least 1,000 spectators in the bleachers.
Attractions and Accommodation
When teams are not competing at any of these incredible sports facilities in Oklahoma City, they can enjoy a variety of great attractions. Next to downtown is Bricktown, an entertainment district where guests can take a water taxi ride down the canal, catch a flick at the theater, or grab a bite at a local bar or restaurant. Along the river, visitors can enjoy the scenery and get a workout by walking on the trails, renting a bike or kayak, or taking rowing lessons at the first propulsion dynamic rowing tank. The brand new SandRidge SkyTrail is an 80-foot adventure course with various levels of challenges on a 200-foot zip line.
Oklahoma City also offers one of the top zoos in the country, a children’s science museum, the Myriad Botanical Gardens, National Cowboy &Western Heritage Museum, and the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum.
Getting Here & Getting Around
Oklahoma City is located at the heart of the country, making it easily accessible from all regions. Driving into the city is simplified by three cross-country interstates, but flying into the Will Rogers World Airport is just as easy for sports teams.
Oklahoma City welcomes hundreds of sports tournaments each year, with thousands of participants entering the city. These events can be overwhelming for sports planners, but the OKC Convention and Visitors Bureau is there to provide assistance along the way. The staff offers marketing services such as press releases and micro-websites to create buzz around an event. They will also hang banners in hotels, airports and entertainment districts to boost awareness for sports tournaments around Oklahoma City. The OKC CVB will also offer VIP gifts and help with visitor information.
It is through these efforts that Oklahoma City has been able to lure sports planners and teams from all over country. Just check out what this city has accomplished.
Current, Past and Future Events
In 2012 Oklahoma City welcomed the NAIA National Swimming and Diving Championships, Special Olympics Softball Tournament, USTA National Regional Girls Tournament, and USA Canoe/Kayak US Olympic Team Trials for Sprint Canoe and Kayak. While that is certainly an impressive resume, Oklahoma City has even more on its plate for the upcoming year. OKC and Edmond, a northern suburb, will host the Region III Championships, bringing in over 20,000 soccer players that will compete for up to six days. In addition, the NCAA Division 1 Women’s Regional Basketball Tournament will come to OKC, on top of the ASA Hall of Fame Tournaments, the World Cup of Softball and the NCAA Women’s College World Series.
For more information about planning a sports event in Oklahoma City, please contact Sue Hollenbeck, Assistant Director, Sports Business Development at the OKC Convention and Visitors Bureau, 405-297-8909, or check out the website at www.VisitOKC.com.
–By Vanessa Day