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OKC Hornets season-ticket holders stuck in lottery pool with everyone else

By Mike Baldwin Modified: August 19, 2008 at 1:03 pm •  Published: August 17, 2008
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Anthony Gerardi is excited the NBA is back. He isn't thrilled his season tickets will cost twice as much. What really bums him is it's doubtful he'll get his front-row seats back.

Gerardi and 12,000 Hornet season-ticket holders will be just like everyone else. A computer randomly will select which fans get first shot at choosing their seats for the new NBA team.

"Someone who forked out a lot of cash and a lot of emotion to support the NBA for two years, which helped open the door for Oklahoma City to have an NBA team, could be randomly selected at the end to where you can't get good seats,” Gerardi said.

Team chairman Clay Bennett said on July 2, when he announced the team was moving from Seattle to Oklahoma City, he hoped to find a way to reward Hornet season-ticket holders. On more than one occasion Bennett asked the New Orleans Hornets for a copy of the season-ticket list from their two seasons in the Ford Center.

He's still waiting.

Owner George Shinn was unavailable for comment. Dennis Rogers, the Hornets director of basketball communications, said their organization is assisting Oklahoma City's new team.

"There have been ongoing discussions about that (season-ticket seating chart),” Rogers said. "We haven't turned our backs. We're trying to help them as much as possible. It's not that we said, ‘No.' There's been ongoing discussions.

"We really enjoyed it there. Oklahoma City fans are near and dear to our heart. Our people working with their team, those are our counterparts, our friends. We've helped them from department to department 100 percent. We will continue to help them.”

That's benefited Bennett's group with game operations, community relations, public relations and basketball operations. But even if the Hornets turned over the season-ticket list this week it's too late. The seat distribution process already is under way.

Ticket prices were announced last Thursday. Team spokesman Dan Mahoney said the 16,000 people who submitted season-ticket applications will receive either an e-mail or a phone call this week. The e-mail will include what day in early September they get to choose their seats.

"It's fair to do it this way,” said Randy Bennett, a first-time season-ticket holder. "I look at it from a newcomer's point of view. This is a new team with different owners. I'm here to support the team for the long haul. Why shouldn't I be on the same playing field?”

Those holding "lucky lottery” tickets begin choosing seats on Sept.

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