Tulsa Shock majority owners want to move team to Dallas-Fort Worth
As reported previously, Tulsa Shock ownership is looking to move the team to the Dallas-Forth Worth area. Rumors began circulating about a possible move earlier this month but team owners stonewalled media when pressed for comment about a possible relocation.
First reported in Tulsa World, the team’s majority owner Bill Cameron wants the WNBA board of governors to vote on the team’s plans to move to Texas as soon as possible. According to a Hoopfeed source, the board met early last week to discuss the move, first with majority owners on Monday evening. The next day, they held a conference call that included the Shock’s minority owners.
Stuart Price, a private, individual minority owner in the team, opposes the move and plans to hold a press conference Monday afternoon in Tulsa to voice his opinion on the relocation.
In addition, the team is reviewing playing games at the University of Texas-Arlington. The College Park Center at UT Arlington has a capacity of 7,000. There is limited public transportation in the city of Arlington, an express bus service between Dallas and Fort Worth that only operates Monday through Friday.
Other possible locations for a pro team in the immediate DFW area include the American Airlines Center in downtown Dallas, Southern Methodist University’s Moody Coliseum in University Park and Daniel-Meyer Coliseum at Texas Christian in Forth Worth. Both Moody and Daniel-Meyer are recently renovated facilities. The Texas Legends, the NBA D-League affiliate of the Dallas Mavericks, play in Dr Pepper Arena in Frisco, a facility with a basketball capacity of 4,000 to 4,500.
“I am proud of the team and the organization and know they will stay focused on making this a winning season, Cameron said in a statement. “I am thankful for the support we have received from the city of Tulsa, mayors (Kathy) Taylor and (Dewey) Bartlett, local fans and sponsors over the past six years. I appreciate the Tulsa investors who stepped up at a critical time to help me bring the Shock to Tulsa from Detroit in 2010.”
“This is a very difficult decision, and I know it is particularly difficult for the Tulsa investors. From a business perspective, it was necessary to evaluate options to place the team and the organization in the best position to achieve financial success. After a thorough review, I believe the Dallas-Fort Worth area holds the greatest potential to achieve our long-term business objectives.”
The last professional women’s team to play in DFW was the Dallas Diamonds (Women’s Professional Basketball League) in the 1980s with Nancy Lieberman on the roster. The semi-pro Dallas Fury (National Women’s Basketball League) played in the area during 2004-05.
In an interview in 2007 Lieberman said that Mavericks owner Mark Cuban had no interest in owning a WNBA team.
“I would be thrilled if an expansion team came to Dallas, as I’ve lived here for 27 years,” said Lieberman. “But it’s been pretty clear in my conversations with Mark that he doesn’t have any interest in bringing a WNBA team there, because he’s so involved with his other businesses, like the Mavericks. But I think this is a healthy market that would add to the growth of the game and the league.”
The Shock moved from Detroit in 2010 and are having their best season since moving to Tulsa after several years of lingering at the bottom of the league.
According to the team, the move would place the franchise in the fourth largest metropolitan area in the U.S.: “Dallas-Fort Worth represents a well-established professional sports market with one of the top five national media markets and a diverse pool of potential corporate sponsors.”
Last week fans of the team organized a “Save Our Shock” campaign that included a watch party and social media campaign. The current and former mayor of Tulsa attended the watch party and city council members wore “Save Our Shock” t-shirts during a council meeting.
On July 14, Tulsa mayor Dewey Bartlett sent a terse letter to the Shock’s owners:
I have read the media reports indicating that the Tulsa Shock is considering relocating the franchise to Texas. On behalf of the City of Tulsa and the Tulsa Sports Commission, I request that you reconsider that decision. The citizens of Tulsa have consistently supported the Shock through numerous coaching changes and terrible losing seasons. To move the team now in light of it’s great season to date and increased fan support does not reflect well upon management’s recognition of that loyalty.
The Tulsa Shock is an important part of the Tulsa Community. We have invested substantial sums of money -both public and private -in the Tulsa Shock franchise. If the Shock leaves Tulsa, our public facilities will lose significant revenue, and the community will lose an essential part of its fabric.
The City of Tulsa is committed to furthering opportunities for women and diversity. The Tulsa Shock women are an important part of those efforts. We are a city that is proud of our support of the empowerment of women -whether in sports, family, career, or education. To leave Tulsa would be a blow to that commitment of our community. The City has supported the Shock -both financially and otherwise -in reliance on your shared commitment to those values. Indeed, we have extended significant economic benefits to you in reliance on your shared vision to foster this community’s vision and growth in that regard.
Relocating the team would undermine those fundamental commitments to the Tulsa community and would cause irreparable loss to the public. Please think of the hundreds of young school-aged women that will be devastated by the loss of their role models. So for the good of Tulsa and our citizens, I must respectfully as that you forego any plans to relocate the Tulsa Shock. To this end, I am requesting that you meet with me and community leaders to discuss how we can retain the Tulsa Shock in Tulsa.
Tulsa (10-7) returns to action tomorrow when they host the Washington Mystics (8-6) at 12:30 p.m. ET. They are currently in a skid having lost their last three games.