Oklahoma City Soccer Battleground Explained, and What Effect That Could Have on the Barons

In case you hadn’t heard. Oklahoma City is in the midst of a war between rival professional soccer leagues. In one corner, we have Sold Out Strategies, a group that currently runs Oklahoma City FC, a fourth-tier soccer team currently playing in the Premier Development League. Heading up Sold Out Strategies is a name that many OKC hockey fans are familiar with in Brad Lund. Lund was a lead executive for much of the run of the old Oklahoma City Blazers hockey team with Express Sports. After his departure with the Barons, he moved on to the Missouri Mavericks and their start.

In the other corner, we have Prodigal Sports Management. Prodigal is of course the lead management group for the Oklahoma City Barons, running the tickets and promotions of the team for the Edmonton Oilers-owned team. Prodigal is owned by Bob Funk Jr., the man who took over the reins of the Oklahoma City Blazers for their final year before shutting down the team for financial reasons.

So we have two gentlemen, very ensconced in the recent history of hockey in Oklahoma City, both trying to create the foundation of professional soccer in OKC. Lund and SOS are looking to bring a North American Soccer League team to the city, a second-tier league that features teams in the US, Canada (Edmonton), and Puerto Rico. Prodigal on the other hand is bringing in a United Soccer Leagues PRO team, which was announced officially a few weeks ago.

Leaving out the hockey aspect, why is this such a big deal?

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Oilers Prospect and OKC Barons Winger Kristians Pelss Missing in Latvia (Timeline)

On Thursday, June 13 reports began to make their way from Latvia to North America that Edmonton Oilers prospect and Oklahoma City Barons winger Kristians Pelss had gone missing after Pelss’ family filed a missing persons report that same day. Many rumors began to run rampant in the hours following as people speculated on where Pelss was and what may have happened to him, but none of those have been confirmed up to this point. So until more details are released, confirmed, etc., I wanted to create a timeline of what has been confirmed until now and hopefully to clear up any confusion there may be.

pelss-jersey-nameplate1

We’re still hoping for the best and want to extend our thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of Kristians and hope for a safe return.

UPDATE: The body has been confirmed to be that of Kristians Pelss. Our condolences to his family, friends, and the entire Oilers, Barons, and Oil Kings organizations.

Timeline after the jump:

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Is The Cox Center In Long-Term Plans For The Barons?

Checkers vs. Oklahoma City Barons 1-11-13
Photo by Rob Ferguson.

Much has been said about the Oklahoma City Barons attendance. Some positive, but a lot of it negative. Warranted? I don’t really think so. I’d like to think that a team like the Oilers would care a lot more about the results on the ice, than the results in the box office, especially when it’s no secret that the players love the area and playing here. But let’s face it, when you’re across the street from the Oklahoma City Thunder and a block from the downtown entertainment district that also includes a Triple-A baseball diamond, there are many other things fighting for the dollar in the area.

There has been talk of a new convention center being built in downtown OKC with the passage of the latest MAPS (Metropolitan Area Projects) measure, and many think that it is set to replace the Cox Convention Center, current home of the Barons. The Cox is a bit unique for a convention center in that it has an arena built in, and the meeting rooms and conference rooms are built around said arena.

Ground broke for the building in 1970, officially opened in 1972, and was the go-to arena in Oklahoma City. Over the years, it has served as the home of the Oklahoma City Blazers (Central Hockey League), Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz (Af2 arena football), and other sports events, as well as housing four NHL games (regular and preseason) through its existence before becoming the home of the Barons in 2010. Able to seat 15,000 fans for concerts, that’s cut down to 13,399 for hockey though the Barons curtain off half of that to have a capacity of 7,500. Despite receiving $4.5 million in upgrades prior to the Barons arrival, it’s becoming more obvious that the building may be too big and is becoming too old, and may not even be available in the coming years should they decide to replace it. So that brings up, do you build a new arena, where do you put it, and would it be viable?

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