Oklahoma City: Capital for Sports Enthusiasts
November 22, 2018
If you’re a sports fan, Oklahoma City is a place where you’re sure to feel at home. To say that folks in Oklahoma City take sports seriously is a bit of an understatement. Known nationally for decades as die-hard college football fanatics, Oklahomans were quick to expand their hearts and their support to include professional basketball when the Oklahoma City Thunder arrived in 2008. But this city’s passion for sports certainly doesn’t end there. BASKETBALL It’s fair to say the people of Oklahoma City have been Thunder-struck since the team’s first season here. The boys in blue have been known since the beginning for playing to sell-out crowds. And for good reason: they’ve won four consecutive Northwest Division titles and advanced to the Western Conference Finals three out of the last five seasons. All of which helps to explain why the team has become incredibly popular, not just locally, but also nationwide. Visit here to learn how you too can Thunder Up. SOCCER In 2014, The United Soccer League (USL) expanded its pro franchise to Oklahoma City. The OKC Energy FC has played in front of sold-out, enthusiastic crowds since that first season. Taft Stadium, built in 1934 and located at N.W. 27th St. and May Avenue, has been renovated to accommodate the growing crowds. Anyone interested in Energy gear or souvenirs can find them at a number of sports paraphernalia stores around town, including the team store at 1001 N. Broadway Ave. in Automobile Alley near downtown BASEBALL A triple-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Oklahoma City Dodgers won a conference title in 2008 and five divisional titles in the past decade. Known for featuring some of the top young talent in baseball, the team plays at the impressive Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, located at 2 S. Mickey Mantle Dr., in Oklahoma City’s Bricktown. In 2013, USA Today named the ballpark one of its top 10 minor league stadiums, according to the 10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards. PADDLE SPORTS An official U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Site and home of the OKC National High Performance Center for both rowing and canoe/kayak, the Boathouse District along the Oklahoma River in downtown Oklahoma City also offers opportunities for individuals and amateur rowing teams to enjoy self-propelled boating. In addition, there are opportunities to be a spectator at several events throughout the year, such as the USA Canoe/Kayak Sprint National Team Trials in April, the Stars and Stripes River Festival in June and the Oklahoma Regatta Festival in October. SOFTBALL The headquarters of the governing body of USA Softball, the National Softball Hall of Fame and Museum, is located in Oklahoma City. In addition, the USA Hall of Fame Stadium - OGE Energy Field, which adjoins the museum, hosts the annual NCAA Women’s College World Series. Located as it is in the heart of the Big 12 Conference, Oklahoma City also routinely hosts Big 12 baseball and men’s and women’s softball tournaments. FOOTBALL The University of Oklahoma football team, known as the Oklahoma Sooners, is a member of the Big 12 Conference, a Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The team has 7 national championships, 47 conference championships, 162 First Team All-Americans (80 consensus), and six Heisman Trophy winners. In addition, the school has had 23 members (five coaches and 18 players) inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. The Sooners play their home games at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma, which at just 26.6 miles to the south is a short drive from Oklahoma City. A little over 66 miles to the north of Oklahoma City is Stillwater, Oklahoma, where Oklahoma State University, home of the Oklahoma Cowboys football program, is located. Also a member of the Big 12 Conference, the Cowboys have played in 28 bowl games, garnering a record of 18–10. They are 4–4 in the six major bowl games (Rose, Peach, Cotton Bowl Classic, Sugar, Fiesta & Orange), with their biggest win being over Stanford in the 2012 Fiesta Bowl. Oklahoma State plays in Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater.