BOK Center

Last updated
BOK Center
BOK Centerlogo.png
BOK Center faccade.JPG
Full nameBank of Oklahoma Center
Address200 South Denver Avenue West
Location Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.
Owner City of Tulsa and the Tulsa Public Facilities Authority
Operator SMG
Capacity Central Stage: 19,199 [1]
Basketball: 17,839 [2]
Hockey: 17,096 [1]
Arena Football: 16,582 [1]
End Stage: 13,644 [1]
Broke groundAugust 31, 2005
OpenedAugust 30, 2008
Construction cost $196 Million [3]
($228 million in 2014 dollars [4] )
Architect Pelli Clarke Pelli
MATRIX Architects, Inc.
Odell Associates [5]
Structural engineer Thornton Tomasetti [6]
Services engineerLancorp Engineering [7]
General contractorTulsa Vision Builders, a joint venture between Flintco Inc. and Manhattan Construction Company [5]
Tulsa Oilers (ECHL) (2008–present)
Tulsa Talons (AFL) (20092011)
Tulsa Shock (WNBA) (20102015)

The BOK Center, or Bank of Oklahoma Center, is a 19,199-seat multi-purpose arena and a primary indoor sports and event venue in Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States. Designed to accommodate arena football, hockey, basketball, concerts, and similar events, the facility was built at a cost of $178 million in public funds and $18 million in privately funded upgrades. Ground was broken on August 31, 2005 and a ribbon-cutting ceremony involving Tulsa musicians Garth Brooks and Hanson took place on August 30, 2008. [8] The arena's schedule of concerts and other events began on August 31 with a community choir hosted by Sam Harris. [9]

Arena enclosed area designed to showcase theater, musical performances, or sporting events

An arena is an enclosed area, often circular or oval-shaped, designed to showcase theatre, musical performances, or sporting events. It is composed of a large open space surrounded on most or all sides by tiered seating for spectators, and may be covered by a roof. The key feature of an arena is that the event space is the lowest point, allowing maximum visibility. Arenas are usually designed to accommodate a large number of spectators.

Tulsa, Oklahoma City in Oklahoma, United States

Tulsa is the second-largest city in the state of Oklahoma and 45th-most populous city in the United States. As of July 2016, the population was 413,505, an increase of 12,591 over that reported in the 2010 Census. It is the principal municipality of the Tulsa Metropolitan Area, a region with 991,005 residents in the MSA and 1,251,172 in the CSA. The city serves as the county seat of Tulsa County, the most densely populated county in Oklahoma, with urban development extending into Osage, Rogers, and Wagoner counties.

Arena football style of indoor gridiron football

Arena football is a variety of indoor gridiron football played by the Arena Football League (AFL), China Arena Football League (CAFL), Champions Indoor Football (CIF) and others. The game is played indoors on a smaller field than American or Canadian outdoor football, resulting in a faster and higher-scoring game. The sport was invented in 1981, and patented in 1987, by Jim Foster, a former executive of the National Football League and the United States Football League. The name is trademarked by Gridiron Enterprises and had a proprietary format until its patent expired in 2007. Due to the patent, other indoor American football leagues that launched following the popularity of the original AFL developed variants on the arena rules.


Designed by César Pelli, the architect of the Petronas Towers in Malaysia, the BOK Center is the flagship project of Tulsa County's Vision 2025 long-range development initiative. Local firm, Matrix Architects Engineers Planners, Inc, is the architect and engineer of record. [10] The arena is managed and operated by SMG and named for the Bank of Oklahoma, which purchased naming rights for $11 million. [11] The only current permanent tenant is the Tulsa Oilers of the ECHL.The BOK Center was the former home of the Tulsa Shock of the Women's National Basketball Association [12] and the Tulsa Talons of the Arena Football League. The facility will also host NBA preseason games and college basketball matchups on a regular basis and seek to attract national and regional sporting tournaments.

César Pelli Argentine American architect

César Pelli, founder of Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, is an Argentine American architect who has designed some of the world's tallest buildings and other major urban landmarks. Some of his most notable contributions include the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur and the World Financial Center in New York City. The American Institute of Architects named him one of the ten most influential living American architects in 1991 and awarded him the AIA Gold Medal in 1995. In 2008, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat presented him with The Lynn S. Beedle Lifetime Achievement Award.

Petronas Towers Twin skyscrapers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The Petronas Towers, also known as the Petronas Twin Towers, are twin skyscrapers. According to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH)'s official definition and ranking, they were the tallest buildings in the world from 1998 to 2004 and remain the tallest twin towers in the world. The buildings are a landmark of Kuala Lumpur, along with nearby Kuala Lumpur Tower.

Malaysia Federal constitutional monarchy in Southeast Asia

Malaysia is a country in Southeast Asia. The federal constitutional monarchy consists of 13 states and three federal territories, separated by the South China Sea into two similarly sized regions, Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia. Peninsular Malaysia shares a land and maritime border with Thailand and maritime borders with Singapore, Vietnam, and Indonesia. East Malaysia shares land and maritime borders with Brunei and Indonesia and a maritime border with the Philippines and Vietnam. Kuala Lumpur is the national capital and largest city while Putrajaya is the seat of federal government. With a population of over 30 million, Malaysia is the world's 44th most populous country. The southernmost point of continental Eurasia, Tanjung Piai, is in Malaysia. In the tropics, Malaysia is one of 17 megadiverse countries, with large numbers of endemic species.


The arena's main lobby. Terrazzo flooring features Native American artwork. Inside BOK Center2.JPG
The arena's main lobby. Terrazzo flooring features Native American artwork.

Tulsa city officials asked César Pelli to create an arena that would be an architectural icon. [13] [14] To achieve this, Pelli employed cultural and architectural themes of the city, including Native American, art deco, and contemporary styles. [15] He made heavy use of swirling circular elements in the exterior and interior designs of the building. [16] A 103-foot (31 m), 600-foot (180 m) long glass facade featuring 1,600 350-pound (160 kg) panels wrap around the building in an escalating motion leaning at a five-degree angle. 33,000 stainless steel panels produced and installed by Zahner continue the upward spiraling path around the circumference of the structure. [17] [18] The interior follows the motion, with grand staircases that wrap around a portion of the building from the main lobby. In total, the building's design required 350,000 square feet (33,000 m2) of exterior stainless steel panels, 75,000 square feet (7,000 m2) of glass, 30,000 cubic yards (23,000 m3) of concrete, and 4,000 tons of structural steel. [1]

Zahner or A. Zahner Company is an architectural metal & glass company located in Kansas City, Missouri.

The arena encompasses 565,000 square feet (52,500 m2) and reaches a maximum height of 134 feet (41 m). Inside, the bowl area's ceiling rests 120 feet (37 m) over the base floor and a 930-foot (280 m)-long HD ribbon screen wraps around the three-level seating area. There are 17,343 fixed seats, each ranging from 20 inches (51 cm) to 22 inches (56 cm) wide—an average width greater than the industry standard, including that of Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City. [1] Actual capacity fluctuates with configuration patterns, and total seating can vary from 13,644 to 19,199—13,644 for partial-use concerts, 16,582 for arena football, 17,096 for hockey, 17,839 for basketball, and 19,199 for center stage concerts. [2] The bowl area's second floor, an exclusive carpeted level with a complete bar, houses press areas and 37 luxury suites, each with 15 22-inch (56 cm) seats and furnished gathering and kitchen areas. In the main concourse, more than 130,000 square feet (12,000 m2) of terrazzo flooring has aggregate that contains 70% mother of pearl. [1] Private funding exceeded original forecasts, and unexpected increases in revenue from corporate sponsorships, donations, and purchases of box seats and luxury boxes paid for an advanced light display for the glass wall that wraps around the front of the building and the scoreboard. [19]

Chesapeake Energy Arena arena in downtown Oklahoma City

Chesapeake Energy Arena, originally known as the Ford Center from 2002 to 2010 and Oklahoma City Arena until 2011, is an arena located in Downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States. It opened in 2002 and since 2008 has served as the home venue for the National Basketball Association (NBA)'s Oklahoma City Thunder. Previously, the arena was home to the Oklahoma City Blazers of the Central Hockey League (CHL) from 2002 until the team folded in July 2009, and the Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz of AF2 from 2004 to 2009 when the team moved to the Cox Convention Center. In addition to its use as a sports venue, Chesapeake Energy Arena hosts concerts, family and social events, conventions, ice shows, and civic events. The arena is owned by the city and operated by the SMG property management company and has 18,203 seats in the basketball configuration, 15,152 for hockey, and can seat up to 16,591 for concerts.

Aggregate (composite) component of a composite material that resists compressive stress and provides bulk

Aggregate is the component of a composite material that resists compressive stress and provides bulk to the composite material. For efficient filling, aggregate should be much smaller than the finished item, but have a wide variety of sizes. For example, the particles of stone used to make concrete typically include both sand and gravel.

The BOK Center's 30-by-33-foot (9.1 m x 10.1 m) scoreboard was funded with $3.6 million in private donations. BOK Center Scoreboard.JPG
The BOK Center's 30-by-33-foot (9.1 m × 10.1 m) scoreboard was funded with $3.6 million in private donations.


The BOK Center holds 37 public restrooms—12 men’s restrooms, 16 women’s restrooms, and 9 family restrooms—with 300 toilets and urinals. [1] Dressing rooms with wooden lockers, hydrotherapy and workout rooms, a players lounge, locker rooms for game officials, and office space for coaches, trainers, and equipment managers are also located within the building. [20] The arena's hanging scoreboard, considered one of the most advanced in the country, is suspended above the arena floor and measures 50,000 pounds (23,000 kg) and 30 by 33 feet (9.1 m × 10.1 m), making use of four 8 by 14 feet (2.4 m × 4.3 m) HD screens, four 8 by 8 feet (2.4 m × 2.4 m) HD screens, a wrap-around 9-foot (2.7 m) HD screen, and another 3-foot (0.91 m) wrap-around HD screen. Designed by Forty Forty Agency and manufactured by Daktronics, the project received $3.6 million in private donations, with some funds going toward an advanced video recording system. [19]


Hydrotherapy, formerly called hydropathy and also called water cure, is a part of alternative medicine, occupational therapy, and physiotherapy, that involves the use of water for pain relief and treatment. The term encompasses a broad range of approaches and therapeutic methods that take advantage of the physical properties of water, such as temperature and pressure, for therapeutic purposes, to stimulate blood circulation and treat the symptoms of certain diseases.

Daktronics American sign company

Daktronics is an American company based in Brookings, South Dakota that designs, manufactures, sells, and services video displays, scoreboards, digital billboards, dynamic message signs, sound systems, and related products. The company is known for its electronic LED displays. Founded in 1968 by two South Dakota State University professors, Daktronics grew from a provider of electronic voting systems for state legislatures to one of the world's largest suppliers of electronic signs. The name is a portmanteau of "Dakota" and "electronics".

There are 14 concession outlets, seven of which belong to Tulsa-area restaurants that supplement typical arena food. Restaurant branches within the building are Billy's On the Square (American fast-casual), Mazzio's, Papa John's, Doc Popcorn, and The Dog House (hot dogs). General concessions serve Mexican food at Wholly Tacomoli, stuffed pretzels and hot dogs at Backstage, gourmet hot dogs at Frank's, chicken tender baskets and baked potatoes at Fuel and chicken sandwiches and veggie burgers at Roadie's Grill.

A fast casual restaurant, found primarily in the United States, does not offer full table service, but advertises higher quality food than fast food restaurants, with fewer frozen or processed ingredients. It is an intermediate concept between fast food and casual dining, and usually priced accordingly. The category is exemplified by chains such as Five Guys, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Shake Shack, Boston Market, Bruegger's, Captain D's, Culver's, Dig Inn, Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, Newk's Eatery, Noodles & Co., Panera Bread, Pizza Ranch, Pollo Tropical, Portillo's, Smashburger, Vapiano and Zaxby's.


Mazzio's Corporation is the parent company of Mazzio's Italian Eatery and the former parent company of Zio's Italian Kitchen. In November 2007, Zio's Italian Kitchen was sold to a private company. Mazzio's specializes in pizzas, pastas, sandwiches, and occasionally other specialty items.

Nearly $1.5 million was allocated to artwork within the building in light of a city ordinance mandating that at least 1% of construction costs for any municipal project be used for public art. Tulsa's Arts Commission selected five artists out of nearly 300 applicants to decorate the interior of the building with the intention of capturing the spirit of the city and state. Of their pieces, the largest is a cloud-like cloth sculpture designed by Kendell Buster that weighs 5,000 pounds (2,300 kg) and hangs above the main concourse. Four 22-foot (6.7 m) Native American medallions designed by Bill and Demos Glass decorate the main concourse floor, along with a series of 25 paintings of tallgrass prairie landscapes created by Mark Lewis that adorn a wall on the main lobby's third level. A 9 by 24 feet (2.7 m × 7.3 m) black-and-white painting of rearing horses created by Joe Andoe hangs on a wall near a concession stand on the north side of the building, [21] and a light display created by Jenny Holzer is also within the arena. [14]

Ownership and management

The city of Tulsa owns the arena but has a five-year management contract worth $950,000 with SMG property management, the largest arena manager in the world. SMG, which also manages the nearby Cox Business Center in addition to Chesapeake Energy Arena and Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City, employs more than 70 full-time workers and 400 part-time workers in Tulsa and assumes the building's annual operations cost of $6,267,752. The current General Manager is Julien Le Mene.


A public open house on August 30, 2008 served as the arena's opening event. Inside BOK Center.JPG
A public open house on August 30, 2008 served as the arena's opening event.

A campaign promise by former Tulsa mayor Bill LaFortune to hold a municipal planning conference was fulfilled within months of taking office in 2002. Although voters rejected tax packages for arenas in 1997 and 2000, a third plan for a downtown arena was the brainchild of the conference, along with dozens of other projects throughout Tulsa County, including a renovation of the nearby Tulsa Convention Center costing $42 million. Vision 2025, a tax initiative increasing sales taxes by six-tenths of a cent over 13 years, was approved by voters in September 2003. Pelli's design was released in September 2004 and construction began in August 2005. [22]

Tulsa Vision Builders, a joint project of Tulsa-based Flintco and Manhattan Construction, was chosen to build the arena. [23] Its original budget was deemed $141 million, but increases in the cost of structural steel, concrete, and labor due to Hurricane Katrina and a robust local economy pushed the cost to $178 million in 2006. [24] [25] An additional $18 million in private funding was used in miscellaneous upgrades, bringing the total cost of the arena to $196 million. [3]

Event history

The first announced concert was on September 6, 2008 and featured the Eagles. Since its grand opening, the BOK Center has hosted many big-name acts such as Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, Elton John, U2, Justin Timberlake, Garth Brooks, Britney Spears, Janet Jackson, Lady Gaga, Kenny Chesney, Bruce Springsteen, Twenty One Pilots, AC/DC, Metallica, Nine Inch Nails, Celine Dion, Taylor Swift, Brad Paisley, Dane Cook, Jonas Brothers, The Weeknd, and Panic! At The Disco. The Eagles also scheduled a rare second performance at the BOK Center after their first concert sold out in 35 minutes. [26] In late 2008, BOK Center General Manager John Bolton was given Venues Today's "Hall of Headlines" award after a poll of venue managers, owners, operators and bookers determined that Bolton had the highest level of success in booking high-quality performances among international venues in 2008. [27]

On October 13, 2008, the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder played the Houston Rockets in its first preseason game since leaving Seattle for Oklahoma and was the first major sporting event at the BOK Center. [28] As of August 2008, the Thunder was seeking to play preseason games annually in Tulsa, although the number of games had not been determined. [29] The next Thunder preseason game took place on October 3, 2017, against the Houston Rockets.

The BOK Center is home to one minor league professional sports team, the Tulsa Oilers ice hockey team of the ECHL. The arena was formerly the home of the Tulsa Talons Arena Football League team from 2009 (while they were in the af2) to 2011. Also, the Tulsa Shock of the Women's National Basketball Association, previously known as the Detroit Shock, [12] played all play their home games at the BOK Center from 2010 to 2015 before relocating to Dallas-Ft. Worth.

In its short existence, the arena has scored two notable opportunities to host men's college basketball games, the first being in March 2010, as the Conference USA Men's Basketball Tournament was held there. BOK Center later hosted second and third-round games in the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship on March 18 and 20, 2011.

The Professional Bull Riders began hosting Built Ford Tough Series events at the BOK Center in 2009, after having previously occupied the Tulsa Convention Center.

BOK Center hosted two big-name events in September 2011; Katy Perry's California Dreams Tour September 17 and Taylor Swift's Speak Now World Tour September 21.

Notable event facts

Paul McCartney performed on August 17, 2009. The event launched the "One Year Birthday" celebration of the venue. The stop in Tulsa was McCartney's first in Oklahoma since 2002 and was the only arena show of his 2009 Summer Tour. McCartney also played at the venue on May 29 and 30, 2013 as part of his brand new tour, Out There! Tour.


Impact and reception

The BOK Center's iconic main entrance BOK Center Grand Ent.JPG
The BOK Center's iconic main entrance

Tulsa's downtown was the site of projects anchored by BOK Center, including a $42 million renovation of the Tulsa Convention Center, a $20 million renovation of downtown streets, a $4 million renovation and expansion of a nearby parking garage, streetscape improvements, and art deco-style signs directing visitors to parking garages, public buildings, specialty districts, and entertainment venues. [36] The arena was expected to host 148 major and minor events in its first year, which was anticipated to generate $1.5 million in tax revenue [37] and $92 million in economic impact. [38] SMG was expected to earn $6,553,250 in revenue, giving it a $285,498 annual profit. [37] In its first four months of operation, BOK Center's ticket sales were nearly enough to reach Venues Today's top 20 worldwide rankings for total ticket sales in 2008 among venues seating 15,001-30,000. The arena reached $20 million in sales in 2008, and was projected to surpass at least $30 million in 2009, which would put it within the top 15 worldwide in sales according to the 2008 rankings. [39]

The arena won Facilities Magazine's Prime Site Award in 2008, which is based on opinions from representatives in the site selection industry, booking agents, promoters, talent buyers, and special event planners, who judge based on location, functionality, technical capabilities, quality of staff, food and beverage, lighting, sound, and staging. [40] The arena was also one of four venues nominated for Pollstar's 2008 "Best New Major Concert Venue" award, which is set to be decided in January 2009. [41] In its first three months of operation, the facility was featured or set to be featured in at least four major venue publications, [42] including Venues Today, which gave its 2008 "Hall of Headlines" award to BOK Center manager John Bolton after a poll of venue managers, owners, operators and bookers determined that Bolton had the highest level of success worldwide in booking high-quality performances in 2008. [27] In late 2008, a survey of BOK Center visitors found that 96.7% felt the building's overall impression, staff, concessions, merchandise, and traffic flow were favorable. [42]

The flowing design and acoustic properties of BOK Center have been praised by Tulsa Vision Builders, Tulsa city officials, and Garth Brooks. Officials from Flintco and Manhattan Construction have called the BOK Center one of the best architectural designs in their 100-year histories of building projects. The companies have worked on AT&T Stadium, NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, Gallagher-Iba Arena at Oklahoma State University, Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, the FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tennessee, and stadium renovations at the University of Oklahoma and OSU, among other projects. [23] City officials have praised Pelli for the design, [22] and Brooks, who held a 2007 concert at Kansas City's new Sprint Center, said at the BOK Center's grand opening, "You guys have got (the Sprint Center) beat hands down. It houses as many people, yet it's warm and small. It's as beautiful and grand as any place I've played." [43] Pelli reacted to the arena's completion by saying that it had taken a "life of its own" since he designed the building, but that the results were exciting and impressed him. He said the building has taken a form that pays tribute to Tulsa's art deco, the nearby Arkansas River, and the city's American Indian history, and anticipated that it would be a major catalyst for private development in Tulsa's downtown area. [16]


Streets bordering the BOK Center's back entrance are closed to traffic during events. Bokcenter20080810.jpg
Streets bordering the BOK Center's back entrance are closed to traffic during events.

City officials estimate there are 12,000 parking spaces within a 10-minute walk of the BOK Center with a city-owned parking garage diagonally across the street from the arena. [44] During major events, Tulsa Transit runs free shuttle bus services to and from the arena and downtown Tulsa. [45] Through a program instituted by the Tulsa Convention and Visitors Bureau, 50 guides are stationed within dozens of blocks of the arena during major events to help with parking and provide general information about shuttle services, events, and downtown Tulsa. [44]

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Events and tenants
Preceded by
The Palace of Auburn Hills (as Detroit Shock)
Home of the
Tulsa Shock

Succeeded by
College Park Center
Preceded by
Tulsa Convention Center
Home of the
Tulsa Talons

Succeeded by
Alamodome (San Antonio)
Preceded by
Tulsa Convention Center
Home of the
Tulsa Oilers

Succeeded by

Coordinates: 36°9′9.8″N95°59′46.8″W / 36.152722°N 95.996333°W / 36.152722; -95.996333