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Jenni Carlson: Thunder has the hottest ticket in town

OKC Thunder: Fans are going to great lengths to get a seat in Chesapeake Energy Arena.
by Jenni Carlson Published: March 31, 2012

The reasons are many.

For starters, the Thunder has sold more season tickets, so there are fewer tickets floating around. And even though season-ticket holders aren't likely to go to every game, they are selling less of those tickets to ticket brokers or unknown buyers. Someone they know has already called dibs.

“They've got four or five people that have already called — ‘Hey, you going to use your tickets?'” Proctor said.

He chuckled.

“School teachers. Nurses. Lawn guys. Everybody's trying to get 'em from them.”

You can understand why. Winning is a major part of the equation, of course. The thing is, it's not only that the Thunder has the best record in the Western Conference and is considered a favorite to go the NBA Finals, but it's also the way that this bunch is winning.

First, the Thunder is winning with good guys. This is a roster filled with players who aren't always popping up on the police blotter, who aren't always pulling antics that make us cringe. That has connected with fans in a place that values doing things the right way.

Second, the Thunder plays an up-and-down, free-and-easy style. These guys score a lot of points. That's fun to watch.

And you know what? They've been known to let the other team to score quite a few points, too. Close games are the norm with this team — how many times have we seen an opponent make a game of it with a massive fourth-quarter run — and while that's probably taken years off Scott Brooks' life, it sure is entertaining.

All of that makes the Thunder a ticket hotter than any other.

Haley Swonger knows that firsthand.

She used to live on the east side of the state, and while she watched the Thunder, she didn't go out of her way for the team. But ever since she moved to Mustang a couple years ago, she felt a connection that has only grown.

“Now, I can't get enough,” she said. “I just love going to Thunder games so much.”

Her gas-station rendezvous with a man she met on Craigslist is ample evidence of that.