The Oklahoma City Thunder has again made a concerted effort to allow fans and families from almost any circumstance to afford to catch a game this season.
When half-season ticket packages go on sale at 10 a.m. on Monday, the Thunder will officially open the door to two more options for anyone attempting to attend a game.
With two 20-game plans that cost between $200 and $3,200 depending on seat location, the Thunder has made it easy for fans to still see plenty of NBA basketball without committing the time and money it takes to secure a full 41-game season ticket. The hard part is deciding which package to select.
The Thunder's "Package A," includes the Christmas game against Denver, the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers' lone trip to town, both visits by Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns and the only appearance by No. 1 overall pick John Wall and the Washington Wizards.
In "Package B," fans would get to attend opening night against Chicago, as well as one-time trips by Eastern Conference heavyweights Boston, Orlando and Atlanta. Both plans include a game against former OU star Blake Griffin and the Los Angeles Clippers, Chris Paul and the New Orleans Hornets, Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks, Yao Ming and the Houston Rockets and Brandon Roy and the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Thunder has set aside the Jan. 30 meeting with Miami, which last month acquired LeBron James and Chris Bosh to team up with Dwyane Wade, as an additional purchase option.
"We tried to make it a balance to where if you're making the commitment to go to half the games you're getting a good, quality set of NBA opponents, and the day of the week is pretty balanced, too," said Brian Byrnes, the Thunder's senior vice president or sales and marketing.
The demand for the half-season packages is expected to be great. Buoyed by a 50-win season and a Cinderella-like playoff appearance, Oklahoma City saw 93 percent of its season ticket holders from the 2009-10 season renew for this coming year. According to the NBA, that figure ranks in the top three leaguewide, Byrnes said. The Thunder also has sold nearly 3,000 new full season tickets this summer.
The Thunder has sold roughly 12,500 full season tickets, only 500 from its self-imposed limit. The team's philosophy, as has been the case in each of the past two seasons, is to set aside 5,000 tickets for partial plans, group packages and single game sales. About 1,500 tickets will be available for mini-packages.
OKC Thunder 2010 half-season ticket plans
October: 31 vs. Utah.
November: 10 vs. Philadelphia; 12 vs. Portland; 17 vs. Houston; 24 vs. Dallas; 29 vs. New Orleans.
December: 12 vs. Cleveland; 19 vs. Phoenix; 25 vs. Denver; 29 vs. New Jersey.
January: 8 vs. Memphis; 28 vs. Washington.
February: 15 vs. Sacramento; 22 vs. L.A. Clippers; 27 vs. L.A. Lakers.
March: 6 vs. Phoenix; 20 vs. Toronto; 25 vs. Minnesota; 29 vs. Golden State.
April: 13 vs. Milwaukee
October: 27 vs. Chicago.
November: 14 vs. San Antonio; 22 vs. Minnesota.
December: 5 vs. Golden State; 15 vs. Houston; 17 vs. Sacramento; 27 vs. Dallas; 31 vs. Atlanta.
January: 13 vs. Orlando; 22 vs. New York.
February: 2 vs. New Orleans; 8 vs. Memphis.
March: 2 vs. Indiana; 11 vs. Detroit; 18 vs. Charlotte; 23 vs. Utah; 27 vs. Portland.
April: 6 vs. L.A. Clippers; 8 vs. Denver.