As you will learn in this issue of The POINT!, Oklahoma City’s sports industry has experienced incredible growth during the past decade, and the momentum continues with the NCAA events that will take place here in the next few years. Since 2005, our Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau assisted amateur sporting events that contributed more than $1 billion to the economy. We should never underestimate the economic impact that these events have on Oklahoma City. But I think it is even more interesting to examine why these events are choosing Oklahoma City as a location.
Oklahoma City’s hospitality plays a role, alongside its enthusiastic support of sporting events. But a large share of the credit belongs to the continued improvement of Oklahoma City’s sports facilities. Without the construction of the Chesapeake Energy Arena as an original MAPS project and the later improvements that took place because of the Big League City vote, Oklahoma City could not bid on certain NCAA events – not to mention the impact those decisions had on Oklahoma City in the form of the Oklahoma City Thunder. The same holds true for the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, the Oklahoma River, the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium - OGE Energy Field. The improvements of each facility resulted in overall growth.
When you combine new and renovated facilities with Oklahoma City’s brand of hospitality, you get a product that is very competitive in the hospitality market. People want to come here and experience what we have to offer. And as the MAPS 3 projects are constructed, it’s important to remember those truths. The new convention center, the RIVERSPORT Rapids and all of the MAPS 3 projects will build on what Oklahoma City already has to offer and improve it. As we have seen countless times in Oklahoma City, I believe those improvements will lead to the growth and success of our community.