Tulsa is getting a new sports franchise…at least until it fails.


Move over Tulsa Shock! It was recently announced that Tulsa is getting a National Premiere League Soccer team. They will be named the Tulsa Athletics.

From The Tulsa World:

Professional outdoor soccer is returning to Tulsa.

The city’s newest team, the Tulsa Athletics, hosts the Liverpool Warriors of Dallas on May 18, it was announced Thursday.

Outdoor pro soccer is nothing new to Tulsa, and neither is the site for the team.

The Athletics will play their home games at Drillers Stadium where the Tulsa Roughnecks played for a short time in 1985.

Tulsa will compete in the National Premier Soccer League. The NPSL allows teams to either pay players or declare the team amateurs. Tulsa will declare its team amateurs, so no player will receive a salary. The amateur status allows college players to join teams without violating NCAA rules, according to co-owner Sonny Dalesandro. Former University of Tulsa soccer player Jake Dobkins will be on the team, and other collegians are expected to be on the roster.

Past professional soccer franchises in Tulsa have struggled to be financially viable. The biggest expense for the Tulsa team will be the $5,500 monthly fee for Drillers Stadium. The team is also responsible for utilities, upkeep and improvements made to the facility, according to an Expo Square official.

“We know what’s happened with clubs in the past,” co-owner Dr. Tommy Kern said of financial expectations. “We know what’s happened when people have overextended themselves.”

All home tickets are $5 for regular seating and $10 for box seats.

When I played soccer for one year in high school, our coach told us that soccer was fast becoming the most popular sport in America. I’m not sure what has happened since 1998 and now, but soccer IS NOT the most popular sport in America. In fact, some sports that are more popular than soccer include: Football, basketball, baseball, NASCAR, paintball, Dancing with the Stars, figure skating, competitive knitting and Quidditch.

Soccer is basically cross-country with a ball. It’s the reason I quit. There is no reason to run around for 90-minutes if the score is going to end up 1-0. To me, soccer is like what love-making is to a woman, most of the time is spent being bored while some sweaty dude goes through the motions, occasionally they’ll get close and it will be very exciting… but then the ball goes out-of-bounds. Maybe that’s why people get so excited when a team finally scores.

The real question at hand is “Why can’t Tulsa get any real sports?” Their brush with professional sports franchises have included The Roughnecks of the failed North American Soccer League, the Oklahoma Outlaws of the failed USFL, and the Tulsa Shock of the it probably should have failed but the NBA subsidizes it WNBA. That’s it. And this is the town that wants to seriously be considered for an Olympic bid.

I don’t mean to sound negative – I like Tulsa’s hills and trees and fancy named streets – but this franchise and league is likely going to fail. They are playing games in a run down ballpark. The pay $5,000 a month in rent and have to cover renovations, upgrades and utilities. They are selling tickets for $5, box seats for $10. They are also not paying their players! They say it is to keep their players from violating NCAA rules, because most of their players will be from college rosters. So if you hate the tradition of college rivalry, you can watch the college players that were willing drive to Tulsa play, and risk injury for zero pay! Sure, you could go to your local university and watch these same players and support a schools athletic program at the same time, or you can help support businessmen try to make a buck off of amateur athletes.

The teams they play is also kind of funny. On May 18, the Athletics will be face off against the Liverpool Warriors of Dallas. That’s right, the name of the team from Dallas is “The Liverpool Warriors.” To me that almost seems like your tricking people into coming to your games. Which is why the Tulsa team needs to change its name to “Michael Jordan’s 1998 Bulls of Tulsa.” Not only does it have a nice ring to it, it will probably get enough stupid people in the seats to pay for that first months rent. Check out this years schedule, they are playing the same 3 teams over and over. How awesome is that!? At least they have a 25% chance of winning their division, which is a higher percentage than the franchise surviving more than a couple of seasons.

If you like soccer riots, you can follow me on Twitter: @SpencerLenox.