Oklahoma City Pours More Public Money Into Sports

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$30 million has been earmarked for a minor league soccer stadium.

What’s another $30 million to spend on a soccer stadium when the Oklahoma City mayor and politicians are already spending $900 million to fund a basketball arena for the owners of the National Basketball Association’s Oklahoma City Thunder? Oklahoma City residents will have to come up with $30 million to help pay for the second-tier soccer Oklahoma City Energy Football Club stadium. The planned stadium was initially supposed to cost $41 million somewhere in Oklahoma City. The additional funding is contingent on the multipurpose stadium being located downtown, where an additional $30 million in Tax Increment Financing and other economic development funds could pay for a portion of the stadium’s construction costs.

The OKC Energy FC Ownership has a contract to purchase an area of undeveloped property. The ownership group then plans to donate 7.2 acres of the area to the City for the stadium, which the City will own. The soccer stadium will have a small capacity, just 8,000 seats. The stadium would be part of the growing trend in the sports industry. The venue would be the centerpiece of a stadium village. The field will be capable of hosting both men’s and women’s soccer matches. “This outcome addresses three challenges,” Mayor David Holt said. “The MAPS 4 stadium project was always funded below the level this city deserves, the project never had a budget for land acquisition, and the land south of Bricktown needs a catalyst. With adoption of this plan by the Council, we have a more appropriate budget for the stadium, we can secure the donation of land, and we will provide the spark this particular property needs. That we can do all of this without general fund tax dollars is a win-win.” The Oklahoma City soccer team currently plays at a high school stadium.

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