It’s no shock to us that Arlington, Texas is becoming the home for another professional sports team. Starting in 2016, the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys and MLB’s Texas Rangers will be joined by the WNBA when the Tulsa Shock moves to town.
“We are thrilled to join one of the most prolific sports regions in the country, with a fan base that has a genuine love for their professional sports teams,” said Shock majority owner Bill Cameron.
Cameron also noted that the relocation to the heart of North Texas presents significant opportunities for the league to reach a larger and more diverse customer marketplace, potential sponsors and access to the nation’s fifth-biggest media market.
Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams said that the choice was clear. “Arlington is synonymous with world class entertainment and sports from the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers to major events held at AT&T Stadium like the NCAA Final Four, the first ever College Football National Championship Game and the annual Cotton Bowl.”
The Shock began in 1998 in Detroit and won championships in 2003, 2005 and 2008 before moving to Tulsa in 2009. When the Shock moves its operations at the conclusion of the current season, it will be first WNBA team ever to be based in North Texas.
Pending approval from the University of Texas System Board of Regents in August, the new home of the Shock will be the UT Arlington College Park Center in the heart of downtown Arlington.
“Having a WNBA team playing at UT Arlington’s College Park Center will add tremendously to the rich sports environment at, and around, the University,” said university president Vistasp Karbhari.
“This adds a new dimension to the growing emergence of UTA in athletics since it will expand exponentially the ways our students can learn from, interact with, and experience the excitement and professionalism of a major women’s sports team,” Karbhari said.
The College Park Center is an ideal size for a WNBA team. The WNBA averaged about 7,400 fans per game last season, while the Shock’s attendance averaged 5,566 in 2014. The College Park Center can seat up to 7,000 spectators.
The arena, which opened in 2012, also has all the bells and whistles befitting a professional sports venue, both from the fan and team perspectives.
UTA alumnus Greg Gardner, owner of the nearby Grease Monkey Burger Shop and Social Club, couldn’t be happier to share his alma mater with the Shock. “I think it follows the vision that UTA had when they built such an amazing facility — create a top tier facility for the Mavericks, but also use it to bring other events to the area and showcase the university and downtown Arlington.”
Tony Rutigliano, president and CEO of the Downtown Arlington Management Corporation, sees the move of the Tulsa Shock to College Park Center as an ideal fit. “It’s not surprising that a professional sports team recognized the many advantages downtown Arlington offers as a destination. The venue itself is top notch, parking is ample, and the large – and growing – number of outstanding dining options in downtown gives fans plenty of places to celebrate before and after the games.”
“Plus,” continued Rutigliano, “the investment by the City of Arlington in downtown, including the Abram Street rebuild project and new Central Library development, will continue to enhance the fan experience for years to come.”
Read more about the Tulsa Shock and its move to downtown Arlington on the WNBA website.