By Mike Baldwin
One theory years ago was Oklahoma City could never support a professional team because was there wouldn’t be enough big-money sponsors, big-money season ticket holders or enough people overall to fill up a 19,000-seat arena 41 times a year at pro ticket prices.
Support for the Hornets their two seasons in OKC quickly dispelled that notion. Now the Thunder’s season ticket sales are off the charts. It’s proof the nation’s 43rd largest market not only can support a pro team, it’s mind boggling to contemplate how many season tickets management might sell if the Ford Center had unlimited seats.
Select-a-seat started Monday at the Ford Center. When the day ended there were only 7,000 season tickets left after 6,300 were sold on Monday. In you have a Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday select-a-seat appointment forget it. You’ll probably get an 8-game mini-package but all other season tickets will be gone. In fact, many people with Wednesday appointments might be left out in the cold.
Team officials won’t say how many “full” season tickets they could sell, but it appears 20,000-plus would be a safe bet. And that’s probably conservative. The Thunder will sell around 13,000 season tickets in less than three days before the team caps season ticket sales. That doesn’t include 2,500-plus season tickets for corporate sponsors. If the team didn’t hold back 4,000 tickets for group sales, individual games or mini packages you can rest assured those would be gone by the weekend.
Did you notice the price for ”Nicholson seats” was $105,00… per season ticket. Let that price tag sink in for a minute. For a cool $1 million you could purchase nine “Hollywood seats” this season. And they’re all gone.
To provide a little context, the 3,500 upper deck $10 seats will produce $1.5 million the entire season. That’s what make this such an interesting story. Tickets are quickly being gobbled up in all price ranges. Hundreds of $6,300 season tickets in the six most expensive sections – $25,000 for four season tickets – sold quickly.
Can Oklahoma City support a pro franchise? The answer Monday was ABSOLUTELY.