The factors are aplenty: Nationally, college baseball has struggled to entertain. Locally, Oklahoma State went through a disappointing patch. And, perhaps most damaging, the NBA's Thunder has stepped in to capture the hearts, attention and pocketbooks of a vast majority of the city's sports fans.
“There are only so many entertainment dollars out there,” Brassfield said, noting that the NBA playoffs (from mid-April to June) overlap with the end of college baseball season.
From Holliday: “It's kind of hard to blame a fan base with getting infatuated with a pretty awesome NBA team with marquee players. That's the right thing. People should be fired up about that and they should be following it.”
So in steps Tulsa, with a sparkling new ballpark (ONEOK Field, completed in 2010) and Bedlam attendance numbers (an average of 9,300 for four games; OKC averaged just 5,017 the past four Bedlam Sundays) that suggest they could support a tournament.
“I'm sure they'll do a great job,” Brassfield said. “It'll be a tremendous event in Tulsa, and I'm sure they'll have great ticket sales. It's new, it's a novelty and it only makes sense that people will come out. And if it's going to be someplace else, I'd love to keep it in Oklahoma and I think they'll do wonderful for it.”
Added Holliday: “I'm good with both places, I think they both have a lot to offer … If the tournament is in the state of Oklahoma, that's good for Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. I'd hate to lose the tournament to Texas or somewhere out of state.”