SMG in the News: BOK Center still packs ’em in

BY World’s Editorials Writers
Thursday, May 30, 2013
5/30/13 at 9:36 AM

Can we finally all agree that the BOK Center is a success? Unfortunately, there will likely continue to be those who refuse to accept the fact that after five years, the investment by Tulsa County voters is paying off in both ticket sales and international prestige.

No further evidence is needed than the two Paul McCartney concerts this week. His first sold-out show was Wednesday. The second is Thursday.

McCartney, who helped celebrate the BOK’s first anniversary, is back to celebrate the fifth.

The numbers do not lie. The arena opened Sept. 6, 2008, with a sold-out show by the Eagles. From then until now, not counting McCartney’s two shows this week, the BOK Center has collected $104.4 million in ticket revenue and generated more than $11.1 in sales tax.

In addition, the arena has sustained big crowds beyond the so-called honeymoon period.

Since its opening, the 19,199-seat, $178 million facility has attracted some of the top names such as Celine Dion, Bruce Springsteen, George Strait, The Who, Fleetwood Mac, Elton John and Billy Joel, Bon Jovi as well as family entertainment, the WNBA Shock, an NCAA basketball regional tournament and the BassMasters fishing tournament. More big shows are scheduled.

The BOK Center helped spark a renaissance in downtown that includes numerous new hotels and restaurants and ONEOK Field.

The arena routinely is listed by national and international organizations and magazines as one of the top venues to play.

There were plenty of naysayers. And it was something of a gamble. Not only is the Tulsa market considered small, but shortly after the arena opened the country and state faced a severe economic downtown.

But the key was a regional base hungry for good entertainment, a facility that is top-notch and an architectural gem.

On this fifth anniversary the people of Tulsa County can celebrate one of the finest and most successful projects they have ever funded.

Here’s to five and 50 more years.
Original Print Headline: Happy fifth