QuikTrip Center To Become Muscogee Creek Nation Center

Friday, November 2nd 2012, 1:37 pm
By: Tess Maune

The Muscogee Creek Nation struck a deal Friday with the Tulsa Fairgrounds for million dollar name change Friday.

The tribe won a bid for naming rights to the Expo Square building, now known as the QuikTrip Center.

But it won't have that name for much longer.

Starting in January, the tribe will pay more than a million dollars a year to put its name on the building, and they'll get first dibs on re-developing the property where Old Drillers Stadium sits now.

The deal will also bring an end to live horse racing at Fair Meadows.

9/27/2012 Related Story: Tulsa, Jenks, Tribal Leaders Make 'Handshake' Deal On Dam Project

The Muscogee Creek Nation is gearing up for its next big business venture.

"It's an economic win-win for everyone involved," said Chief George Tiger.

Tiger said plans to team up with the Tulsa Fairgrounds have been in the works since January.

The tribe will pay $1.4 million a year to change the name of the QuikTrip Center to the Muskogee Creek Nation Center.

It's an investment the chief says will pay off.

"The return on investment is automatic almost, because anytime anybody has any kind of event at the expo center, they have to mention our name. It's a good marketing tool," Tiger said.

The QuikTrip contract runs out in December.

The Creek Nation will pay nearly ten times what QuikTrip was paying for the naming rights.

"We know we have a substantial source of revenue that we can rely on and depend on to basically help maintain, and those wonderful facilities those wonderful citizens of Tulsa County built for us," said Ron Shotts, Fair Meadows Race Director.

The tribe will also get priority in proposing plans to re-develop old Drillers Stadium.

Tiger said there are no plans for the space yet, but he knows of one thing that will not be built at 15th and Yale.

"Not a casino, that's for sure," Tiger said.

Live horse racing at Fair Meadows will also end.

The racetrack at the fairgrounds will be closed as long as Will Rogers Downs and Remington Park stay open, both of which are run by other Native American tribes.

Shotts said the racetrack has been struggling for years.

"Our handles decreased about 95 percent over the last six or seven years, while our costs continue to go up," Shotts said.

The race director told News On 6 that horse shows at the fair have grown over the years, so shutting down the tracks will open up more space so those shows can continue to expand.

Expo Square President Mark Andrus is also expected to speak to the media.