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Official Review by Billy Ray, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The Bank Of Oklahoma (BOK) Center located in Tulsa, Oklahoma opened in August of 2008 and is a state of the art arena that seats over 19,000 (just over 16,000 for Arena Football) for events ranging from concerts to sporting events. I recently visited the center for a Tulsa Talons Arena Football League game as they hosted the Kansas City Command.
In addition to hosting Talons games, the BOK Center is also home to the Tulsa Shock of the WNBA and the Tulsa Oilers of the CHL.
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 BOK Center offers a variety of food for fans to fill up on at games and events. It features vendors from restaurants such as Billy's Burgers, a kiosk that sells gourmet candy products and others selling adult beverages.
A stacked Billy's Burger can be bought for around $6 and drinks range from about $4 for a soda to $7 for a 16-oz draft beer.
As it is a fairly new arena, the BOK has not been around long enough to qualify as a venue with any historical significance. However, it makes up for that with an outstanding design that makes it easy for fans to see the games from any seat in the house.
The atmosphere was electric for the game with Talons supporters fired up, pretty cheerleaders roaming the stands, freebie memorabilia launched into the stands by hand cannons, and contests during breaks in the action that give a few lucky fans an opportunity to compete for cash prizes, food and even a new vehicle.
The scoreboard features large screens that show replays of any action a fan may miss if distracted by a cute cheerleader dancing too close.
All in all the atmosphere for the game was electric as the Talons played a tough game only to lose on the very last play.
As this new arena is located in the middle of downtown Tulsa and has brought about some revitalization in the area, it is fairly close to some restaurants and bars in the vicinity.
On the flip side, since it is downtown, it is not unheard of to see some undesirable types in the area. Nothing that should really worry someone but that visitors should be aware of.
The fans that were in attendance for the Talons game were there to have fun and cheer on their team. They showed their support as loudly as was possible considering the BOK Center does seat over 19,000 and an Arena League game will not be able to fill the stands.
The fans were knowledgeable and loud for the game. Many were of the hard-core variety, sporting team gear, noise makers and even an attitude towards the opposing team.
There was also a contingent of young girls in Talons Cheer t-shirts, most not even in their teens, that served as another unofficial cheerleading squad that performed at halftime.
There was plenty of parking available close by for the game with prices ranging from $5-$10 per spot. However, for an event that would pack the stadium, the parking situation might become more difficult as the close spots would be filled quickly and alternate parking options would need to be found a little further from the stadium.
The restrooms were new, clean and very efficient. Even for bigger crowds, the restrooms would be more than adequate to handle the requirements.
The Talons game was very entertaining and well worth the price of tickets. Prices ranged from $10 for end zone seats to $87 dollars for seats in the front row where a game ball might become a souvenir.
The staff were helpful and provided me with suggestions on what to look for and where to go when I got there.
As the BOK Center is not very far from freeway access, after the game I was able to get back on the road quickly and without the major traffic jams that can be a problem at other locations.
I would recommend the BOK Center as a great place to see the many events it has hosted in its' brief history. The atmosphere and location, combined with the state of the art amenities in the Center itself, makes it a good option for people in Northeastern Oklahoma to see sporting events or one of the variety of other events this arena hosts.
As for the Talons, even though the home team suffered a last second loss, the game was entertaining and a great place to take your young football fans to see some live professional action.
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