From the bright lights of the Women’s College World Series to the 82-game rollercoaster ride of an NBA franchise, Oklahoma City is home to one of the country’s most vibrant scenes for sports fans.
Oklahoma City has established itself as a destination for major sporting events year-round, regularly attracting NCAA and conference championship events while maintaining a busy schedule with a professional basketball franchise, Triple-A baseball club, two nearby Power-5 universities and much more.
What are the can’t-miss sporting events in Oklahoma City? Let’s break them down:
Oklahoma City Thunder
What do you get when you give one of the most college-sports-crazed states in the country its very first professional basketball franchise? Loud City. That nickname has become widely associated with the Thunder among fans and locals, primarily because of the college-like atmosphere Thunder fans bring to the arena from the start of the season in October to the end of the season. The Thunder’s home venue, Paycom Center, recently received a $20 million upgrade, including the installation of a sparkling new 125-foot wraparound jumbotron and upgraded seating options.
Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon
The Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon’s mission is to celebrate life, reach for the future, honor the memories of those who were killed on April 19, 1995 and unite the world in hope. The race begins with 168 seconds of silence to honor the lives lost and all proceeds from the event benefit the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum. The race, which is a Boston-qualifying USATF-sanctioned event, has grown to over 25,000 participants and has become a “must-run marathon,” according to Runner’s World magazine.
Women’s College World Series
Oklahoma City is the Softball Capital of the World, playing host to the Women’s College World Series (or WCWS) for more than 30 years at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium. The softball-specific park seats 13,000 fans, typically around late May, early June. Once the first pitch is thrown, you will quickly find yourself in a heated battle among college softball’s best teams that is likely to include huge momentum swings and star-making moments that send the crowd into a frenzy. The WCWS also features a large fan festival, where attendees can find interactive games, food trucks and official merchandise.
Oklahoma Regatta Festival
Home to one of the country’s premier water sport competitions, the Oklahoma Regatta Festival is held each year on either the first or second weekend of October in OKC’s Boathouse District. This multi-day, family-friendly event is hosted at RIVERSPORT. It is headlined by the OCU Head of the Oklahoma races, which attract some of the top college, master and junior competitors from across the country to participate in the 2.5-mile (4k) head race. The festival also includes kayaking, dragon boating and stand-up paddle boarding. Spectators can also enjoy the event’s family festival, which is equipped with food trucks, a beer garden and a fireworks show.
No other city in the world is home to more national and international equine championship events than Oklahoma City. These events are regularly held at the Oklahoma City Fairgrounds. Here is your cheat sheet to some of the top events:
American Quarter Horse Association World Show: Considered the equine industry's premier event, competitors work all year to earn a spot in the AQHA World Championship Show that represents the disciplines of English, western and halter. It typically starts in late October.
National Reining Horse Association Futurity Championship: Garnering more than 600 entries for its main event, the National Reining Horse Association brings the best riders to the historic Jim Norick Coliseum for its most prestigious event of the year.
Better Barrel Races World Finals: Barrel racing takes center stage the last weekend of April with major cash and prizes at stake.
Oklahoma City Dodgers
Going to Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark for a Dodgers game is a staple of an Oklahoma City summer. The Los Angeles Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate is one of the top clubs at its level, winning the Pacific Coast League Championship in 2023. Spectators can expect a fan-focused atmosphere at the 9,000-seat stadium in the heart of downtown Oklahoma City. The Dodgers regularly hold special promotions for fans, including themed nights and giveaways. The Dodgers also offer a plethora of seating options between regular seats, picnic and lawn areas, a Budweiser deck and suites.