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Official Review by Bradlee Ross, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
ONEOK Field is located in downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma and is well worth a visit if you ever find yourself in the Tulsa area during those prime soccer-watching spring and summer months.
The Roughnecks were originally founded in 1978 and refounded in 2013 (the original incarnation of the team folded in 1984). They currently play in the United Soccer League. They share ownership and ONEOK Field with the Tulsa Drillers, a double-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies.
Opening in 2010, ONEOK Field is named for ONEOK natural gas company and has a total capacity of just under 8,000. It is located in downtown Tulsa, next to the historic Greenwood district.
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 food options at ONEOK Field are numerous and varied. The standard concession stands are called Tulsa Driller Grille and Oil Capital Concessions and contain the basics of hot dogs, popcorn, soft drinks, etc. These are reasonably priced and of a good quality.
But there are also plenty of other options to get your snack and drink on. There're stands like Siegi's Sausage Factory, Steakadelphia, Corner Cantina, Smokie's and Burgertopia selling all kinds of awesome foods like Philly cheesesteaks, gourmet burgers, Tex-Mex, and more. Rita Cabana serves Bud Light margaritas and there are also various beer stands at regular intervals along the concourse. There are plenty of dessert options as well, including Hornsby's Sweet Treats serving lemonade, sno-cones and cotton candy and a Sweet Stand in left center field that serves frozen yogurt.
Sadly, there are also quite a few stands that are not open during Roughneck matches for one reason or another. This limitation lowers the venue's score somewhat, especially since all of these places are normally open during baseball games. Still, there are a lot of great options at reasonable prices.
If you have trouble deciding what to spend your hard-earned money on, choose the Jalapeno Popper Burger that can be had from the Burgertopia stands. It consists of a ˝ lb. beef patty, jalapenos and cheddar cream cheese. It's delicious and a bargain at almost any price.
Roughneck matches at ONEOK Field leave something to be desired as far as energy and buzz go. Unfortunately, there really isn't much going on besides the match on the field. There is a Kids' Zone near center field with a splash pad to keep the kids cool during those hot summer months. There's also a grassy area for families to sit picnic-style while they watch the Roughnecks.
A few others things of note are the small merchandise stands which allow any fan to show their team spirit, plenty of ATM's for those fans who prefer to use cash, and a variety of seating to choose from (though some obviously costs more). However, other than what's listed here, there really isn't much in the way of atmosphere.
ONEOK Field isn't hard to get to at all. Interstate highway 244 goes right by and the Tulsa downtown district itself is surrounded by four or five different highways that all converge, making it easy to get to no matter what direction you are coming from. Once you get off the highway, things can get a bit more difficult, as downtown Tulsa can be a challenge to navigate depending on construction.
There is plenty to see and do around ONEOK Field. Downtown Tulsa has much to offer including the Philbrook Arts Museum, Spaghetti Warehouse and the BOK Center, another great venue.
The most historically-significant aspect of downtown Tulsa is the Greenwood district, which was once known as the "Black Wall Street of America" because it was the home of many prominent African-Americans. Within it, you can find the Jazz Hall of Fame, Greenwood Cultural Center and the Mabel B. Little Heritage House, all of which are well worth the visit if you are even remotely a history buff. Also don't forget to visit the John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park, a free park practically next door to ONEOK that memorializes the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot.
As far as eateries go, you should plan to have your pre-Driller-game meal at Burn Co. Barbecue, which has the best barbecue in the state of Oklahoma. However, you'll have to time out your visit, as Burn Co. is only open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm, which leads to very long lines (though they move quickly). It also is a considerable distance from the park. However, when you bite into the best barbecue you've ever had, it will all be worth it.
Your post-game meal doesn't need to be far from the ballpark at all. Fat Guy's Burger Bar is actually connected to ONEOK Field, just outside the outfield, but it also has a streetfront. With great burgers and plenty of TVs to watch your favorite ballgames, you won't be sorry you stopped here for a bite. If you need a recommendation, try out the Pizza Burger. It consists of a beef patty, a sausage patty, pepperoni, provolone cheese, basil mayonnaise and marinara sauce. It will change how you feel about pizza and burgers (in a good way).
The crowd at Roughneck matches is a very mixed and middling one. They are not all that loud or involved in the action on the field, save for a very loud and vocal superfan section that honestly borders on obnoxious a good amount of the time. The rest of the venue is filled with families with children or young people who just need something to do or somewhere to be. Most fans in attendance simply watch quietly or spend most of the match walking around. It seems to be a social setting for many, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it does take away from the fan experience somewhat.
The bathrooms are very clean and large enough to prevent any waiting. The aisles and seating are big enough to be comfortable, and most fans will have a very easy time getting around the concourse as well. The only issue for this venue is parking. It can be very difficult to find in downtown Tulsa. It is particularly hard to find the area immediately surrounding ONEOK Field. Free parking will require a considerable walk. The closest parking will typically run around $10 or so. Roughnecks FC offers a $5 lot at the corner of Archer and Detroit (a block from the stadium). Also, you can find free parking in lots on the OSU-Tulsa campus north of the stadium (Fridays-Sundays).
The return on this stadium experience probably depends on the individual fan. That being said, you will not find a better pro soccer experience (or really any other pro soccer experience) near enough by to pass up seeing the Roughnecks at ONEOK. Tickets are available for about $10 a piece at the cheapest, which may not be a value for casual soccer fans. The visit is really worth it if you are going to spend some time in the fantastic neighborhood surrounding ONEOK.
One extra for the splash pad near the Kids' Zone. Staying cool is important during the summer, especially for kids and especially in Oklahoma.
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