It's Tulsa newest pro team and now they will be playing in one of the city's most premier arenas. For the Oklahoma Defenders, Tulsa's professional indoor football team, the move to the Tulsa Convention Center was a natural one.
"Our games are non-stop action," said Defenders owner and General Manager Lamar Baker. "We like to say the energy and excitement of an Oklahoma Defender's game at the convention center is like being at a rock concert and a football game broke out."
"The convention center has a great sound system and there's no bad seat in the house. Everyone can get involved in the game."
The squad will be entering its second season this spring. Last year they played five of their six home games at the Expo Square Pavilion. Their final one was in the Tulsa Convention Center. That's when Baker said he realized the center was a good fit for his team and Defender fans.
It's also an exciting time to be in the mix of downtown Tulsa, he says.
"The city of Tulsa is doing a good job of revitalizing the area and bringing people down there and we're excited to be a part of that."
Not only is the team moving venues, but they will also be moving leagues. They are leaving the American Professional Football League (APFL) for the new Champions Professional Indoor Football League (CPIFL). Some teams they will now face include the Wichita Wild, Sioux City Bandits, Mid-Missouri Outlaws, and a new franchise in Kansas City. Other cities in the league include Lincoln and Omaha, Neb.
One aspect of the new league is the broader radius it allows the team to live away from home. Twenty of the team's 25 active players including coaches must live or work within 125 miles of the home arena. Baker says this will allow them to draw from a deeper talent pool including players from Oklahoma City.
Season tickets are expected to go on sale in October. While ticket prices haven't been announced yet, Baker says he expects season tickets will range in price from $60 to under $200 for the front row seats.
A spark to the high-energy at the games comes from the team's mascot Billie the Regulator. His ability to excite fans, especially younger ones, is what makes him one of the best mascots in the league says Baker. That's why this year the team will be adding a Kid's Club. Baker says they're planning on making the membership free. Perks will include a t-shirt, official Club Certificate, Club ID, member's only activities, and safe kid's tips and educational materials.