Brad Lund granted two-year lease to Taft Stadium for soccer team

Former chief executive officer of the Oklahoma City Blazers plans to house a North American Soccer League team in the renovated stadium.
BY RHIANNON WALKER Staff Writer rwalker@opubco.com Published: June 17, 2013
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photo - Brad Lund of Sold Out Strategies waits to speak to the Oklahoma City school board on June 17, 2013. Lund and Sold Out Strategies intend to bring a professional soccer team to Oklahoma City to play in Taft Stadium. Photo by KT KING, The Oklahoman
Brad Lund of Sold Out Strategies waits to speak to the Oklahoma City school board on June 17, 2013. Lund and Sold Out Strategies intend to bring a professional soccer team to Oklahoma City to play in Taft Stadium. Photo by KT KING, The Oklahoman

Brad Lund and Bob Funk Jr. faced off Monday at Oklahoma City Public Schools over the lease for Taft Stadium.

Both sides were allotted 15 minutes to present their arguments for why their company should receive the Board of Education's approval.

Funk, the owner and president of Prodigal LLC, implored the board to approve his request to use Taft as the home of a United Soccer League team. Lund, the managing partner of Sold Out Strategies, wanted the board to grant him the lease, so a North American Soccer League team could be housed at Taft.

After both sides presented and answered the questions of the board members who required clarification, the board deliberated its decision.

In a majority ruling, Lund was awarded the rights to Taft's two-year lease plus a renewal option.

“It's a big day for sports in Oklahoma City,” Lund said. “We're going to be bringing an extremely high level of world-class soccer to Taft Stadium. Personally it's a dream of mine. I grew up playing, I met my wife playing soccer, and it's a special, special day for Oklahoma City, not just soccer fans, but sports fans in general.”

Monday afternoon's school board meeting was not just a competition between two rival sports agencies; it was also a clash of the old and new hockey regimes in Oklahoma City.

Lund is the former chief executive officer with Express Sports who owned the Oklahoma City Blazers. During Lund's 16 seasons with Central Hockey League franchise, the Blazers had the best attendance average in all of minor league hockey (9,123), and on five occasions were ranked No. 1 in all of minor league attendance.

Funk Jr., is the current owner of the Oklahoma City Barons and the former co-owner of the Oklahoma City RedHawks. Funk was also the head of the Blazers ownership group. In 2010, it was announced that the Barons would be the Edmonton Oilers American Hockey League affiliate.

“(Prodigal Sport) are good people, and they had a very nice presentation, and we feel real fortunate,” Lund said.

Oklahoma City FC's inaugural season will take place at the conclusion of Taft's renovations in 2014. Once reopened, the stadium will host the revived New York Cosmos, which in its heyday featured soccer-legend Pelé on its roster.

Upon formal approval on July 25, 2013, Oklahoma City will become the smallest market in the NASL. The NASL is the second highest tier in the United States soccer pyramid, with 12 teams in its league.

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