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Thursday morning, the University of Oklahoma Softball program announced plans to build a new stadium with help from Love’s Travel Stops.
According to a release from Oklahoma’s Athletic Department, Love’s has pledged $9 million to the new stadium efforts. Additionally, they’ve pledged dollar for dollar matching contributions of up to $3 million.
Love’s Travel Stops contributes lead and naming gift for new stadium.
— Oklahoma Softball (@OU_Softball) October 28, 2021
In the stadium partnership, the new softball stadium will be named Love’s Field.
“As life-long Oklahomans, investing in the community, specifically the University of Oklahoma and its softball program, is something we’re proud to do,” said Jenny Love Meyer, chief culture officer and executive vice president of Love’s. “What Patty Gasso has accomplished in not only her tenure at OU, but for women’s college softball, is awe-inspiring. The program she’s built aligns with Love’s core values of integrity, perseverance and strong work ethic, and the world was able to see that as they won the 2021 Women’s College World Series. We are proud to have our name associated with this program and the new stadium that’s so well deserved by the team.”
Oklahoma Softball was in need of a new home. The 2020-2021 softball season saw attendance soar as the Oklahoma Sooners were the must-see event of the Spring and Summer.
As popularity of the sport reached new heights and Oklahoma captured its fifth national championship under Patty Gasso, the time was now to invest in a program that should be the favorite to win the national championship again in 2022.
Per the release from OU, here’s what Patty Gasso had to say:
“I can’t put into words how grateful I am and our program is for the generosity of Love’s Travel Stops and the Love family,” Gasso said. “They share our championship mindset and have embraced not only the success of our program, but the culture we’ve built among our student-athletes and fans. They also recognize that for us to maintain the level of excellence we’ve achieved, we must be a national leader in all aspects of our program, including our facility. Love’s is empowering women to reach the absolute pinnacle of achievement while inspiring the next generation to look to the future with the biggest dream. As we see at a moment like this, dreams really do come true.”
Capacity for the new stadium will grow from 1,378 to 3,000 seats and the new design will allow for expansion. Additional, temporary seating can be added annually to increase attendance capabilities by 1,900 seats.
In addition to the new stadium, the plan includes new state of the art training facilities that will double what Oklahoma Softball is currently working with.
“Love’s Field will be constructed at the northwest corner of South Jenkins Avenue and Imhoff Road, approximately one-half mile south of the current stadium location,” per the University of Oklahoma release.
University of Oklahoma Vice President and Athletics director Joe Castiglione said, “Love’s has made a gift of historical proportions for a facility that will be second to none and will impact the lives of our student-athletes for generations to come.” He continued, “We are profoundly grateful. Love’s is one of Oklahoma’s greatest companies and families. It is an honor to be aligned with them. We share their values of pressing into the future with new ideas, of capturing the opportunities each day brings, and understanding the vital role we play in our community and state. We are proud that their name will be on our new stadium, and we are grateful that the accomplishments of Patty Gasso, her staffs and student-athletes are being celebrated in this way. This program develops young women and achieves in a way that should be magnified as elite in all of college athletics.”
Minimum estimates have Love’s Field costing approximately $27 million and has a projected groundbreaking of 2022 with hopes of opening the stadium for use in 2024.
From OU, “Those who are interested in giving to the softball project should contact the Sooner Club at (405) 325-8000 or visit https://www.thesoonerclub.com/softball.html.”