Holding true to his campaign promise, the BOK Center came to be with a vote in 2003 and groundbreaking in 2005. This downtown venue was a hard fight, with many residents seeing what it could do for the downtown area versus the residents that fought the thought of paying higher taxes.
The BOK Center is now an anchor to the downtown area along with the Tulsa Convention Center. $20 million was spent on renovating the streets and another $4 million to expand parking garages, improve streetscaping, install art deco-style signs, and other renovation.
Today, the center has proven itself to be the revenue generating facility that the former Mayor Bill LaFortune promised. The arena reached $20 million in sales in 2008 and won the Facilities Magazine’s Prime Site Award that same year.
Tulsa City officials and Tulsa Vision Builders have praised the design and acoustics of the BOK center, as has Garth Brooks. Many contribute the art deco all around Tulsa’s downtown area, and the beauty that the Arkansas River gives the area, as part of what makes the BOK center popular. The American Indian history of Tulsa plays a strong catalyst as well for drawing the attention of many.
The BOK Has Big Names, Big Performers
The Eagles would be the first concert held at The BOK in 2008 and when that concert sold out in 35 minutes, they added a second concert. Janet Jackson, along with several other big named artists, performed throughout a very successful first year of the centers opening. Sir Paul performed the following year to launch the center’s One Year Anniversary. Other big names that have performed at The BOK include Billy Joel, Elton John, Justin Timberlake, U2. Britney Spears and Cardi B., and of course Oklahoma’s own Garth Brooks and Carrie Underwood only to name just a few.
Venues Today’s would award John Bolton, the GM for BOK Center, “Hall of Headlines” award in late 2008. This award is voted on by bookers, managers, owners, and venue managers from all over. It was their vote noting Bolton as reaching the highest level of success in high-quality bookings for venues for the year.
It Hasn’t Been all Music for the BOK Center
In the fall of 2008, big names kept on coming to The BOK Center with the Oklahoma City Thunder hosting the Houston Rockets. It was the Thunder’s first game after leaving Seattle and The BOK Center’s first major sporting event. It didn’t stop there!
The Tulsa Oilers now call the BOK Center home as have the women’s WNBA team – the Tulsa Shock has. The BOK Center has hosted two major men’s college basketball games, the Conference USA Men’s Basketball Tournament in 2010 and the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship in 2011. Getting out of the usual sporting arena, in 2009 the BOK Center hosted The Professional Bull Riders.
Bringing in Names and Numbers Still
The BOK Center is still bringing in big names and big bucks. The Pollstar 2018 ranked The BOK Center at number 7 in the country and number 24 in the world for Q1. Several big-name repeats are lined up for 2019 and several big names will be making their first appearance at The BOK this year.
200 South Denver Ave W, Tulsa, OK 74103