Tulsa's BOK Center could fill gap left by Talons with more concerts
BY BRIAN BARBER World Staff Writer
Friday, September 30, 2011
9/30/11 at 8:00 AM
BOK Center See a calendar of upcoming events at the arena, view photos from performances and more.
The BOK Center can make up the financial hit from the Tulsa Talons arena football team's defecting to San Antonio by adding a couple of concerts to its calendar, venue officials say.
"For us, the team represented eight regular season games per year," BOK Center General Manager John Bolton said. "Its financial impact was $175,000 to $200,000" annually.
As an arena tenant, the Talons paid deeply discounted rent, Bolton said.
Although the Talons generated about $25,000 in revenue - from rent and facility charges - per game for the BOK Center, he said, a single concert brings in between $80,000 and $150,000.
"It's unfortunate the team left, because it certainly helped our bottom line," Bolton said. "But it also opens up eight Saturday nights that we can potentially fill with other events."
BOK Center officials are hoping that 2012 will be a better year for concert tours so they will have plenty of product to book.
The arena, which hosts 165 events per year, has consistently posted an annual operating profit since it held its first ticketed event in September 2008.
Last fiscal year it was $1.6 million in the black, with $8.3 million in revenue offsetting $6.7 million in expenses.
The BOK Center still has two tenants, the Tulsa Oilers hockey team and the Tulsa Shock basketball team.
The loss of the Talons will have little impact on the more than $2 million in sales taxes generated at the venue annually because the tax is not collected on ticket sales for such sporting events, only concessions, Bolton said.
Also, holders of the arena's 680 club seats, which have received tickets to Oilers and Talons games, will instead get tickets to eight Shock games to replace the Talons events, he said.
But Bolton predicts that the BOK Center isn't done with arena football.
"I believe there will be another team in the building at some point in the future," he said. "We own the turf and the equipment, so we are ready to go."
There are different leagues, Bolton said, and teams are routinely relocating.
"The Talons were the most successful franchise in af2 history," he said. "We really need to get back to a situation where we have strong rivalries with teams in Oklahoma City and Wichita. That gets fans excited. And right now, there's not an arena football team in either city."
The Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz folded in 2009.
The Tulsa Talons began in 2000 as a charter member of the now-defunct af2 league and went on to win two championships. It joined a reconstituted Arena Football League in 2010.
Just last week, the Talons' move to San Antonio was confirmed, in part, because of its slow ticket sales.
Original Print Headline: BOK Center could fill Talons gap with shows
Brian Barber 918-581-8322
Tulsa Talons player Al Hunt looks for running room during a recent game at the BOK Center in Tulsa. The Talons are relocating to San Antonio. Tulsa World file
The Tulsa Talons play the Kentucky Horsemen at the BOK Center on March 28, 2009. The game was the Talons' first at the BOK Center, but the team is relocating. Tulsa World file