A phone rings. It jingles once more before the operator picks up. "Thank you for calling the Sonics in Oklahoma City. My name is Debbie. How are you today?”
This is the first step fans are taking to secure tickets to Oklahoma City's new NBA team. About 11,000 people have added their names to the team's ticket request list since the relocation became official late Wednesday. They're calling from Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Ada and Ardmore, Norman and Bethany. But the soon-to-be-named franchise is also fielding requests from states like New Jersey, Georgia, Arizona, Texas and Kansas. "It's great that they're coming to you guys,” said Ashley Webster, 24, of Hutchinson, Kan. who added her name to the list Thursday. The team got so many calls within the first 24 hours of the announcement that the original call-in line, (888) 618-HOOP, became overloaded and temporarily stopped functioning. A second local number, 601-0975, was added to handle the volume. Both numbers are now fully functional, and fans can also join the request list on the Internet at okfordcenter.com or at supersonics.com. "I was just amazed how early it started,” said Ford Center Director of Marketing and Sales Tim Linville, who is overseeing the operation. "Since 7 o'clock in the morning it's just been insane around here. You can tell when people are getting off work or when they're on their lunch break because it just gets crazy.” The team's temporary call center is set up in a TV production room high above the Ford Center arena floor. Thirty to 40 Ford Center employees have been brought in to answer phones, rotating shifts while the team's sales staff transitions from Seattle. All that's needed from callers is basic information such as names, addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses. Operators then inform callers that a customer service representative will be in touch in coming weeks. Tickets are not yet for sale and no deposits are being taken.
Continue reading this story on the...
MORE FROM NEWSOK
MORE COVERAGE•Housing: City developers roll out the welcome mat for team Page 1B •Tramel: Getting used to living in a big-league city Page 1C •Videos: Reaction, plus why this is the biggest thing to happen to modern-day Oklahoma City. NewsOK.com