The Oklahoma City Wranglers are feverish for spring football.
Oklahoma has added several new sports in the past year, from hockey to bull riding, but its latest arrival is a familiar state pastime: football. The revived Oklahoma City Wranglers is a professional American football team that will play its first season in spring 2023 in the United Football League, which runs from April to August.
The UFL will feature 14 franchises in the Southeast and Midwest. Like traditional American football, the UFL’s games will be held in open-air stadiums, but the league has incorporated elements of arena football, an indoor variation of the sport.
This is the third time in its history the league will launch. The first iteration of the UFL kicked off in 1961 and lasted until 1964. The league had eight clubs, most of which were centered in the Midwest. League operations decided to halt activity after the 1964 season was over. The UFL relaunched in October 2009 and played four additional seasons before suspending play after 2012.
The Wranglers were originally founded in 1995 as an expansion team in the now-defunct Arena Football League. The team previously played under the names Portland Forest Dragons and the Memphis Pharaohs before finding a home in the 405. Games were played indoors in the heart of Oklahoma City at the Myriad Convention Center, which is now home to Prairie Surf Studios. Now, 20 years since its last game, the Wranglers return as Oklahoma’s minor league team — this time, outdoors.
The team will play its 2023 season in an 8,400-seat open-air temporary stadium, which will be built in the south parking lot of the former Crossroads Mall. Construction and removal of the temporary facility will cost $1.1 million, according to the UFL, which owns the Wranglers. The Wranglers have also signed a 20-year contract to build a 10,000-seat permanent stadium near the mall.
For a state that has recurring football frenzy with the Oklahoma Sooners and Oklahoma State Cowboys, fans might be looking to feed their hunger for high-quality play in the spring. The UFL states that its mission is to “passionately deliver purposeful, captivating and exceptional professional football to fans, supporters and the football community.” For Oklahoma sports fans, there’s no such thing as too much football.
The spring season runs from April 1 through Aug. 5, 2023. For more information about the Wranglers and to purchase tickets, visit okcwranglers.com.