Oklahoma City has a great deal for which to be proud. Virtually recession-proof, economically stable and culturally diverse, we are certainly a city on the move and our commitment to the new NBA franchise is evidence of our strength as a community.
While other cities are struggling to sell tickets, the Oklahoma City Thunder occasionally sells out their games, and for fans of the team, we support the franchise through thick and thin. Of course, lately it’s been pretty thin.
Despite an NBA-worst record last week, Thunder attendance ranks 12th in the league with an average of 18,473 in the Ford Center per game, besting crowds in Houston, Phoenix and San Antonio, according to The Associated Press. “People in Oklahoma City should not be booing,” ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser said. “They should be crawling on the ground to kiss the feet of the athletes who go to Oklahoma City to play pro ball.”
In Seattle, the SuperSonics were all the rage for about 15 years, but when they started losing games, ticket sales declined and fans decided to spend their money on the fledgling NFL franchise, the Seattle Seahawks. Beyond our diversity, our friendly atmosphere and economic stability, Oklahoma City has already proven itself to be head and shoulders above Seattle where fan support is concerned ” even when our team loses consistently.
What is truly fascinating is that ticket sales have been strong even when the hot tickets in town are the Sooner and Cowboy football games, and ticket sales have been strong for them as well. College basketball has been strong, too, and with Sherri Coale’s new hairstyle and effervescent personality, the Sooner women’s team is putting the proverbial rears in the seats. And all the while, the Thunder ticket sales roll.
Whether an NBA fan or not, our city should be very proud of how we have treated our professional sports team. While all 15 of the old Sonics’ fans are still grumbling and crying in their beers ” and waiting for the second coming of Kurt Cobain ” Oklahomans have not only rolled out the red carpet, but are lining it with green, too. We’re ensuring we not only keep our franchise, but become an example for other cities to follow.
Sure, travel throughout different parts of our fair city has become very bad for sufferers of high blood pressure because of the incessant road closures and construction, but we are doing just fine, thank you. The Ford Center improvements are coming along nicely, and at the end of the day, we have solidified our position as a “Big League City.”
The Thunder is one of many examples as to why Oklahoma is an excellent place to live, work and raise a family, and it appears as though fan support will continue long into the future.
Black, a former Seattle resident, is a consultant living in Edmond and founder of Wild Oklahoma TV & Radio.