Much has been said about the Oklahoma City Barons attendance. Some positive, but a lot of it negative. Warranted? I don’t really think so. I’d like to think that a team like the Oilers would care a lot more about the results on the ice, than the results in the box office, especially when it’s no secret that the players love the area and playing here. But let’s face it, when you’re across the street from the Oklahoma City Thunder and a block from the downtown entertainment district that also includes a Triple-A baseball diamond, there are many other things fighting for the dollar in the area.
There has been talk of a new convention center being built in downtown OKC with the passage of the latest MAPS (Metropolitan Area Projects) measure, and many think that it is set to replace the Cox Convention Center, current home of the Barons. The Cox is a bit unique for a convention center in that it has an arena built in, and the meeting rooms and conference rooms are built around said arena.
Ground broke for the building in 1970, officially opened in 1972, and was the go-to arena in Oklahoma City. Over the years, it has served as the home of the Oklahoma City Blazers (Central Hockey League), Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz (Af2 arena football), and other sports events, as well as housing four NHL games (regular and preseason) through its existence before becoming the home of the Barons in 2010. Able to seat 15,000 fans for concerts, that’s cut down to 13,399 for hockey though the Barons curtain off half of that to have a capacity of 7,500. Despite receiving $4.5 million in upgrades prior to the Barons arrival, it’s becoming more obvious that the building may be too big and is becoming too old, and may not even be available in the coming years should they decide to replace it. So that brings up, do you build a new arena, where do you put it, and would it be viable?