Big Sports Lead To Big Bucks For OKC

Friday, May 30th 2014, 6:53 pm
By: News 9

Over the 32 years OKC has hosted the softball world series, more than 1 million fans have flocked to the stadium. Factor in that and the number of Thunder fans sparks a boom for business.

"Our biggest expense is the hotel, we get munchies and tail gate and then get munchies in the ballpark," softball fans Christina and Bobby Walker said.

You'd be all laughs too if you were retired and doing exactly what you want to do.

For the Walkers, coming to OKC for the Softball World Series is exactly what they want to do.

"Baseball games are somewhat slow," Bobby Walker said.

They've done so for the last six years, no allegiance to any particular team. Just love the road trip from their home in Topeka, Kansas. And every year, softball isn't the only thing on the agenda.

"Been to the museum, been down to Bricktown…we'll have a couple of nice nights out," the Walkers said.

Owner of Bricktown bar and grill Urban Johnnie, Rick Haynes is happy to accommodate those nights out.

"Anytime there's something going on, we see an increase in business," Owner Rick Haynes said.

At just two months old.

"We opened at a great time, and we're having great success," Haynes said.

Urban Johnnie has yet to see a down time, throw in the Thunder and softball with the already long list of Big 12 Basketball, NCAA Wrestling National Championship and Big 12 Baseball.

All together the Oklahoma City All Sports Association estimates those collegiate events combined total a $40 Million economic impact, with 80 percent of the fans coming from out of state.

"They come from out of state and say we're so impressed with your state and the generosity of Oklahoma," Haynes said.

Which is the same for the Walkers, who may spend money but gain much more laughs.

"Yup, but we have lots more memories," the Walkers said.

Oklahoma City and the NCAA have agreed to keep the Softball World Series in town until 2035.

If that wasn't enough, the Senior PGA is coming to town in July and the NCAA Volleyball Championships are in December.