Drillers to Call Home ONEOK Field
PLAY BALL: Tulsa Drillers President Chuck Lamson, city officials and ONEOK executives gathered to announce the Park’s new name Monday, Jan. 12. Photographed above is Chuck Lamson at the ONEOK Field Groundbreaking ceremony.
Daniel C. Cameron for GTR News
(TULSA)- Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor and other city leaders Monday, Jan. 12 joined ONEOK, Inc. in announcing that the new downtown Tulsa baseball stadium will be named “ONEOK Field.”
Slated to be completed before the 2010 baseball season, ONEOK Field will be located directly west of the historic Greenwood District and will be adjacent to the Brady and Blue Dome entertainment districts.
ONEOK and the ONEOK Foundation, as major donors to the project, pledged $5 million and obtained the 20-year naming rights to the baseball park that will be the future home of the Tulsa Drillers, the Double-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies Major League Baseball team.
“With this investment, we are reinforcing our strong commitment to Tulsa and its downtown,” said John W. Gibson, chief executive officer of ONEOK.
“A vibrant downtown is key to our ability to attract and retain the employees we need today and in the future to continue our company’s success. Last year, we acquired ONEOK Plaza, our downtown office building, and now, with the new baseball field, we can help with the continued redevelopment of downtown Tulsa and the revitalization of the historic Greenwood District.
“This was an easy decision for us,” said Gibson. “We take great pride in the city in which we’re headquartered. We have been located in downtown Tulsa since 1926 – and at our current location since 1984.”
The $60 million ballpark project, which includes construction of the stadium for the Tulsa Drillers baseball team and the acquisition o the surrounding land for mixed-use redevelopment, will be owned b a public trust. The Tulsa Stadium Trust will oversee the financing, construction and redevelopment of the area around it. The city of Tulsa is the trust’s only beneficiary.
Construction of ONEOK Field and the redevelopment of the surrounding area began in December 2008 and are being funded through $30 million in private donations, $25 million in fees that would be generated over 30 years from a downtown property assessment district, and $5 million from the Drillers’ lease.
The naming rights announcement was made today at the city’s Greenwood Cultural Center, adjacent to the new ballpark. In addition to Gibson and Taylor, others participating in the naming rights announcement ceremony included Reuben Gant, chairman of the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce; Chuck Lamson, president of the Tulsa Drillers; and Stanley Lybarger, chairman of the Tulsa Stadium Trust.
Like ONEOK, Baseball Has A Rich Heritage In Tulsa.
The Tulsa professional baseball club is the oldest professional sports franchise in the city of Tulsa. In 1905- two years before Oklahoma was admitted into the union of the U.S. – the Tulsa Oilers took to the field for their first game. After more than seven decades as the Tulsa Oilers, the team was renamed the Tulsa Drillers in 1977.
In 2005, the Tulsa Drillers celebrated 100 years of professional baseball in Tulsa. One year later, ONEOK celebrated its centennial.
As longtime and stabled citizens of the community, it’s only natural that ONEOK and the Tulsa Drillers have teamed up to bring baseball to downtown Tulsa.