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Fans show their enthusiasm at Ford Center open house

By Mike Jeffries Published: July 13, 2008
When the Ford Center opened its doors to the public at 2 p.m. on Saturday, all kinds of people flooded through the turnstiles.

Some wanted the chance to skate on the same ice the Blazers do. Some wanted to see if it really was all that hard to kick an Arena League field goal. Some wanted a chance to sink the game-winning shot on the hardwood. Some just wanted the free food.

And some, like Dan Curtsmith and his son Colton, wanted to sit in every section of the Ford Center they could.

"We're big NBA fans,” said CurtSmith, an Oklahoma City resident. "We want to see where the best place to watch the game will be.”

The 11,000-plus ticket requests is evidence Oklahomans are head-over-heels excited about Oklahoma City's new NBA endeavor, and Saturday was the perfect day for fans like the Curtsmiths to check out the team's new home.

"Well, I think this is a great place for them to be,” said Tonya Murphy of Edmond. "It's a nice building and it's big enough.”

Ford Center officials are busy making sure their nice building is in tip-top shape for professional sports.

In March, voters overwhelmingly approved a $100 million Ford Center renovation project, and although the building won't be finished before the NBA tips off in November, plans are in the works.

"Our number one priority right now is getting the lighting and wiring right,” said Tim Linville, director of sales and marketing for the Ford Center. "When the building was built, it was up to NBA standards. But those standards have changed, mostly because of the demand for high-definition television.”

Linville said the Ford Center might have to close its doors to concerts and other events next summer for construction.

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