Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

SoccerCity Buys, Upgrades OKC Arena

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

SoccerCity Buys, Upgrades OKC Arena

Article excerpt

The owners of the SoccerCity indoor soccer complex in Tulsa have purchased Hat Trick Arena in Oklahoma City and are reopening it this month with massive upgrades, co-owner and general manager Kerry Shubert said Wednesday.

The facility, nestled in the Summerfield neighborhood in northwest Oklahoma City, is the largest in the state with 71,000 square feet and three fields, officials said. If the previous owner had not offered to sell, Shubert said, he and his partners were prepared to build a competing business in the area.

"But it costs about $5 million to build a brand-new facility, and then obviously we'd have to compete to draw business away," Shubert said. "Financially, it just made more sense to do it this way."

Shubert would not discuss the details of the private transaction, but said SoccerCity has already invested $800,000 in badly needed renovations since the deal closed in August. For example, the steep central stairs, which were known by frequent visitors as Mount Everest, have been rebuilt with multiple landings to watch the games. The concessions area has been remodeled to allow for parties and at least four large-screen televisions have been installed.

Sylvie Green, a spokeswoman with the U.S. Indoor Sports Association, said indoor soccer is experiencing strong growth across the country despite the economy, particularly among Latino cultural groups. Increased interest also reflects a generational change, as children who were introduced to outdoor soccer many years ago are now returning to the sport on a smaller scale as adults.

An indoor arena doesn't rely on good summer weather for play; a business can remain open all night throughout the year, she said, which makes it attractive for adults seeking leisure sports activities. The majority of indoor soccer arenas' revenues are derived from adult leagues. …

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