Announced today, Oklahoma City has been named the latest addition to the 65 team Premier Development League which is a “toe-dipping” league for soccer athletes who are able to maintain their amateur status while also being able to play in a professional sports environment.
I’ll not dive into the details of it other than the season is short. Fourteen games, beginning in May of this year, the team will play on the campus of Oklahoma City University at Stars Field.
This story takes an even more interesting turn (and pertinent to this blog) as Brand Lund, former Chief Executive Officer of Express Sports and thus the Oklahoma City Blazers, is a managing partner. His status with Sold Out Strategies, which does work in various pro leagues and events, dictates that he might not have a huge part to play in this move other than attaching his name. But this is new territory for Oklahoma City, and it’s a nice wrinkle to the growing landscape of sports in the metro area.
“Oklahoma City has traditionally supported its minor and major league sports franchises like no other city in the country,” Oklahoma City FC managing partner DeBray Ayala said. “PDL will be the highest level of soccer played on a regular basis in the metro area in more than 15 years.”
Keep in mind that this is a shortened season at the beginning of summer. It in no way encroaches on the space already maintained by NBA, NCAA, and AHL play. But with the Oklahoma City hanging low on the fruit tree in terms of attendance, this statement feels like a five year old press release.
Lund had success in Oklahoma City before, but remember that he left abruptly and was forced to settle with his Express Sports companions. With Prodigal (Barons owner/operator) passing on the Oklahoma City Redhawks (now owned by outsiders, Mandalay), and throwing all their eggs into mainly AHL hockey and bull riding, did they pass on this as well? Would have fit nicely in their already eclectic collection of sporting endeavors.