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Official Review by Bradlee Ross, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The BOK Center, home of the Tulsa Oilers, opened on August 30, 2008. It offers 19,199 seats for concerts, with 17,096 of that available for its hockey games. It is owned by the city of Tulsa itself and was designed by famous architect Cesar Pelli. In addition to the Oilers, it also hosts the Tulsa Shock of the WNBA.
The Tulsa Oilers currently play in the ECHL and have played their home matches at the BOK since it opened in 2008. The current incarnation of the team was founded in 1992, though the first hockey team in Tulsa nicknamed the Oilers was established way back in 1928.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
The quality and variety of concessions available at the BOK is really top notch. Regular concession stands sell some great items like burgers, chicken tenders, shrimp, and fish and chips. They also sell Pepsi products exclusively and have plenty of beers on tap. The prices at these regular stands are a bit high, but the quality makes it worth it for most items. It important to note that not all of these stands have exactly the same menu. Items like pizza and chips and dip vary.
But, for those fans who are looking for other things to snack on, there are plenty of options. This arena has a specialty popcorn stand, The Dog House which sells gourmet hot dogs and many other different types of foods. Fans who are looking for adult beverages also won't be disappointed. Stands selling beer, tequila and frozen drinks are also easily found.
When it comes to atmosphere, fun is the most important thing. The BOK has nailed this aspect of the sports experience. A real effort is made to sell team merchandise and get fans involved in promotions with huge booths. They play music over the PA during breaks in the action, and not the old stale music you will often hear in arenas. There is also a great jumbotron hanging above the ice that makes it easy to follow the action.
There are quite a few promotional booths for area businesses that allow fans to get involved in promotions and contests, as well as a first aid center, something all venues should have. Overall, the BOK has an energetic, lively air to it that makes it an enjoyable sports experience for all sports fans.
The BOK is located in downtown Tulsa and really stands out as a beacon in the area. However, there are still some great things to do while in the area. The Brady Theatre, Cain's Ballroom and the Tulsa Performing Arts Center are the places to check out for performances musical or theatrical.
There are also plenty of hotels and restaurants to make use of. The Hyatt Regency and the Doubletree are very close to the arena. Boston Avenue Grill, Casa Laredo and Caz's Chowhouse are just a few of the awesome restaurants that are nearby.
The Oilers draw a nice crowd, particularly in a city that is not traditionally all that crazy about hockey. It also strikes a good balance between young people looking to have a good time and families with children. The venue does a good job of catering to both.
The arena usually is at least half full, maybe a little less on a slow night. Fans are not super intense about the action on the ice, but they have fun and get involved at key moments.
The concourse and aisles are spacious enough to allow one to get around easily, even with a large crowd. Seating is comfortable and provides plenty of room for any fan. The bathrooms are too small for the size of the arena, but they are kept immaculately clean. Handicapped seating is also plentiful, and the entire arena is very handicapped friendly.
Downtown Tulsa can be hard to navigate at times, depending heavily on the time of the day and construction (which seems to always be going on somewhere). There is lot of parking around the arena, but it can be hard to find for free. However, after 5pm, all metered parking is free.
The BOK is a bit more expensive than other sports venues in the area. However, it is worth it given the rise in quality when compared to those other arenas. It truly is top notch in almost every way possible. It's fun and festive atmosphere combined with great concessions and high-quality facilities make it worth the bump in price. Oklahoma isn't known for its hockey, but the BOK makes hockey fun for anyone.
This venue receives one extra point for its promotion honoring survivors of breast cancer. Not only did they have promotional booths, but they also had many of their employees and the Oilers players wearing pink.
Member Review by ColoNick on Feb 09, 2013
The mothership has landed in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Bank of Oklahoma Center, commonly known as the BOK Center, is a state-of-the-art arena that is simply stunning. Designed by world-renowned architect César Pelli, whose other works include the Petronas Towers in Malaysia, the BOK Center sits in futuristic contrast to the rest of staid downtown Tulsa.
Outside, the arena is a swirling confluence of shimmering glass and sparkling stainless steel that appear to have more in common with Coruscant than Tulsa. Inside, you are greeted by a spacious, multi level promenade that stretches upwards to the full height of the arena. This vast atrium, bounded by the exterior glass walls, ensures no traffic flow issues even with the largest of crowds. An abundance of natural light combined with a brightly lit interior on white accents further contributes to the space ship feel of the exterior. This is really a world-class, major-league arena in a minor-league town.
The BOK Center tenants include the Central Hockey League Tulsa Oilers and the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) Tulsa Shock. While the Oiler name in Tulsa goes all the way back to 1926, this version of the Oilers dates their history to the founding of the CHL in 1992.
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