A look at possible options for the Thunder Alley watch parties along with the pros and the cons:
BUSINESS AS USUAL
Pros: The watch parties in Thunder Alley were fast becoming a grand tradition and part of Thunder lore in Oklahoma City. For a vast majority of the people who watched games there during the first two rounds of the playoffs, they had no problems.
Cons: The crowd size had continued to grow and was only bound to get bigger. The security simply isn't available to handle those ballooning crowds, especially in such a confined space. That is the biggest difference between Thunder Alley and Opening Night on New Year's Eve or the Festival of the Arts; the entire crowd is packed into less than one city block instead of being spread out over a much larger area.
LIMIT THE CROWD
Pros: Setting up a perimeter would allow security personnel to control the number of fans inside Thunder Alley. That would make policing the crowd a more manageable task. It would also allow people to move more freely around Reno Avenue; navigating the crowd was becoming a problem for fans trying to get to the arena.
Cons: Even if a block-long barrier were set up, the giant screen on the northwest side of The Peake is visible far beyond that. Thousands of people would likely spill into Myriad Gardens and other neighboring areas. Since those spaces would be largely unpoliced, security could become a serious issue.
MOVE THE WATCH PARTY INSIDE
Pros: The Cox Convention Center or Bricktown Ballpark would provide a more controlled environment as well as more amenities for fans. Crowd size could be limited, and admission could be charged and concessions sold to offset the cost of the facility. Fans would also have access to bathrooms.
Cons: First, a facility would have to be available. Second, additional big screens would have to be brought in, which would be an added cost. And finally, it could be shutdown by the television network. NBC recently blocked the New Jersey Devils and the New York Rangers from having watch parties during the Eastern Conference Finals. The reason? They would zap the ratings. And if a network is concerned about watch parties in markets that big hurting ratings, you have to think they'd be keeping an eye on a smaller market like Oklahoma City.