NBA fills more than half the hotels in downtown Oklahoma City during Finals

Some guests were bumped last week when the NBA and its entourage came to downtown Oklahoma City, and it could happen again Sunday if there's a Game 6.
by Jennifer Palmer Published: June 20, 2012

Downtown hoteliers juggled guests last week to accommodate the entourage that comes with being in the NBA Finals.

And they'll do it again if the series comes back to Oklahoma City.

Though planning for the possibility of hosting the NBA began months — even years — ago, the winning teams and their locale weren't known until practically the last minute, making booking blocks of hotel rooms a bit of a challenge, said Sue Hollenbeck, assistant director of sports business development for the Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Rooms are scarce in downtown Oklahoma City anyway, and the NBA needed 1,000 of the 1,600 rooms within walking distance to the arena during its stay last week.

“We know we don't have enough rooms downtown. When you have such a big event and a last-minute event, it is hard to accommodate,” she said.

In contrast, Miami “is having no problem right now,” she said.

Because many downtown hotels have agreements with the NBA to ensure a certain number of rooms will be available, other guests may get “bumped” to another location.

Managers of three downtown hotels did not return calls for this story. John Williams at the Colcord Hotel said that hotel didn't house teams, so it wasn't an issue.

by Jennifer Palmer
Investigative Reporter
Jennifer Palmer joined The Oklahoman staff in 2008 and, after five years on the business desk, is now digging deeper through investigative work. She's been recognized with awards in public service reporting and personal column writing. Prior to...
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