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Lack of watch party tames Thunder Alley crowd

No watch party outside Oklahoma City's Chesapeake Energy Arena meant a much mellower Thunder Alley crowd before Thursday night's playoff game.
BY ZEKE CAMPFIELD zcampfield@opubco.com Published: June 1, 2012

They told the ticketless to stay home. For the most part, the ticketless did just that.

No watch party outside Chesapeake Energy Arena meant a much mellower Thunder Alley crowd before Thursday night's playoff game.

One number can sum it up: four. That's how many kegs of beer were sold at the Bud Light stand outside the arena, compared with two dozen or more the last time around, beer salesman Mike Banda said.

“It was pretty sweet, but a couple knuckleheads messed it up,” Banda said.

Oklahoma City canceled the traditional watch parties held outside the arena during games after nine people were injured in shootings May 21 in Bricktown, about three blocks away.

About 6,000 of the ticketless watched the Thunder play that night on a big screen mounted to the side of the arena.

On Thursday, no game was to be broadcast. At 8 p.m., the beer garden shut down, ticketholders headed inside, and stragglers were outnumbered by police officers.

Police said there were no incidents outside the arena on Thursday.

“They need to figure something else out to where someone who can't afford a ticket can still come and watch and have a good time,” said Steve Holko, of Oklahoma City, who attended Thursday night's Game 3 with his wife, Bridget.