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Scoreboard among Ford Center plans

BY MIKE BALDWIN Published: April 26, 2009
Editor’s note: The Ford Center is undergoing a significant facelift post-Thunder season. In this excerpt of an April 10 story in The Oklahoman, sports writer Mike Baldwin tells about the innovative changes to come to the home of the Thunder.

After the final buzzer of the last game this season, and after the players left the court, the only people inside the Ford Center the next five months will be construction crews giving the 6-year-old facility a significant facelift.

The next time anyone watches the Thunder play a preseason game in October, capacity will be reduced by about 550 seats. Major additions will include:

• A new $5.5 million scoreboard with video wings on the top and bottom and high definition-like quality.

• Upgraded floors and wall finishes in Loud City.

• 48 new box seating areas in the club area.

• A new locker room spanning the length of the court that will include weight equipment, video equipment and player-friendly amenities.

"A more modern building will improve the fan experience,” said Brian Byrnes, Thunder vice president of ticket sales and services. "Thunder games will be more exciting because the focus is on fan amenities.”

Using nearly half of the $120 million generated from a 1-cent sales tax extension voters approved last year, the Ford Center will feature several major changes. Many of the new additions will generate additional revenue streams for the Thunder.

Construction bids will be accepted in early May and work will start after that. No concerts or sporting events will be held in the Ford Center until renovation concludes, which is expected in September.

The most significant addition is 48 loge boxes, four- and six-seat areas on both ends in club sections.

"Loge seating is the new thing,” said Tim Linville, director of Ford Center marketing and sales. "They’ll have a table in the front and back and wide seats on swivel casters. It feels like a suite. You just don’t have a big walking area with all the furniture. It fills a niche between regular seats and a suite.”

Loge boxes include year-round entertainment. For the same price as an eighth-row Thunder courtside level season ticket, loge boxes — at prices of $12,375 per seat (in six-seat boxes) or $14,045 per seat (in four-seat boxes) — include tickets to most major concerts, family shows and all Thunder games.


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